Daniel Ricciardo surprised at Pierre Gasly's deficit to Max Verstappen

Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo says he has been surprised by Red Bull replacement Pierre Gasly’s struggles to get on terms with Max Verstappen in Formula 1 this season.

Ricciardo drove alongside Verstappen at Red Bull for almost three seasons before he made the switch to Renault for 2019, with Gasly promoted from Toro Rosso as his replacement.

Ricciardo frequently trailed Verstappen in qualifying trim last year but Gasly’s deficit has been much more pronounced, with the Frenchman also struggling in race trim.

Gasly has only once beaten Verstappen in qualifying, which came in Canada, when Red Bull misjudged the Q2 cut-off time for the Dutchman, leaving him out of the session.

Gasly has taken just 63 points compared to the 181 amassed by Verstappen, who has taken two victories and a further three podiums.

“It’s a tough one with him now because it is… the reality is reality – he is a long way off Max,” said Ricciardo.

“So on one side they are happy with Max and the first pole for him [in Hungary]. But on the other hand I think deep down they know that they could be scoring a lot more points.

“I don’t know what it is at the moment with Pierre because last year he got some big results with Toro Rosso, which was clearly not as good a car as the Red Bull.

“So a tough one. I know Max as a team-mate I know he is…and I didn’t expect Pierre to come out and beat him.

“I’m not surprised that Max is beating him, but I am surprised at the gap.”

Ricciardo also stressed that he has “no regrets” over his move to Renault, in spite of the team’s current predicament compared to Red Bull.

“I watched the onboard of Max and it looked pretty planted, and with the Honda [engine] they are doing well,” he said.

“It’s a big contrast of where I am and where he is, so I don’t want to say that’s hard to take, but I’d rather be where he is than where I am [on the grid in Hungary].

“But equally I still don’t regret anything 12 months down the track.”