From track to tack: Ricciardo and Verstappen race on the water

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen took their racing mentality to the water as they battled it out in Red Bull Sailing’s 40-foot catamaran and the GC32 foiling multihull. 

Both drivers claimed victory on the water as they were put through their paces on Lake Balaton on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix by double Olympic gold medallists Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher.

The day began at a slow pace as Ricciardo and Verstappen got to grips with their unfamiliar cockpits before the speed – at 33knots (38mph) admittedly slower than in Formula 1’s fast lane – and the competition ramped up.

Ricciardo teamed up with Hagara in the GC32 while Verstappen was paired with Steinacher, the latter duo almost nose diving into the water from the outset because of the high winds.

I had never sailed before in my life but this was actually very cool and really fast,” said Verstappen. “I learned a lot from Roman and Hans Peter, and I think it was a great start into sailing.”

Verstappen’s boating rival Ricciardo, meanwhile, said: “I guess extreme sailing is the best way to describe it, and I hadn’t done anything like this before, not on a weapon like this. The boats are impressive – the pure size and the height of the sails were bigger than anticipated. I found myself on the winch most of the time, and apparently we nearly capsized but they made me feel safe so I didn’t think much of it.

Like any speed rivals, though, neither gave an inch and both crews disputed the result of the racing. Steinacher claimed: “Max and I were leading but the finish line was always moving. I was pretty sure we had done it.” Hagara, meanwhile, suggested: “It was a really close finish and we thought we won so we celebrated by jumping into the water.” Probably best to call it a draw!

Ricciardo goes into this weekend’s race at the Hungaroring a place ahead of his teammate in the drivers’ standings in fifth place. The Australian, who won the race in 2014, said: “I love the circuit. I’ve had good memories there. It’s tight, twisty and a good atmosphere, and I think it’s going to be one of our stronger circuits to date. Quietly confident.

Thanks to Red Bull Content Pool.

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