Daniel Ricciardo insists he is not “scared” of his teammate Max Verstappen.
Just like he burst into F1 with Toro Rosso last year, the 18-year-old teenager has made a similarly meteoric mid-season switch to Red Bull.
Many believe the Dutchman already has the upper hand on Australian Ricciardo, particularly on the basis of the most recent races.
But Ricciardo said in Hungary that he is happy with the challenge.
“I’m always open to a new challenge,” he insisted.
“Max is really fast and straight away he is strong. And even though he’s young, you can always learn something from him.
“If we’re pushing each other, the team can only benefit from that,” Ricciardo added.
Almost a decade older than Verstappen, Ricciardo insists he is not “scared” of the impressive teenager.
“I know I should have won at least one race,” he said. “His speed is undeniable and I’m not looking for excuses, but there are quite a few reasons why I haven’t had better results.
“When you drive as well as you can, you don’t need to be afraid of anyone.
“I was beaten a few times by Daniil (Kvyat) last year,” Ricciardo added. “But if you understand why it happens then you can swallow it.
“If you’re constantly behind then you have a problem. Max is on a good run but I know that I can beat him,” he insisted.
“If Max makes the same progress that he has been in the next five or ten years, then I think every driver needs to worry, but I’m only scared of sharks and snakes,” Ricciardo grinned.
The 27-year-old said his goal of winning the world championship is on track.
“I’ll be happy if I do it by 30, but you can be world champion after you’re 30 as well.
“Generally, athletes are getting younger, like Max, but my plan is a little like Valentino Rossi — just stay young in your heart,” Ricciardo added.