But even Australian Ricciardo doesn't see it that way.
"For me, Max's new contract doesn't change anything," he said. "And as long as I don't feel disadvantaged, everything is fine for me.
"I don't want to put any suspicions in my head when it's not necessary," he is quoted by Speed Week.
"I can understand the marketing value of Red Bull making Verstappen the youngest champion, but I don't see that as an obstacle for me," Ricciardo, 28, added.
And even Verstappen, 20, said a situation of full equality at Red Bull is no problem for him.
"I can see that we receive equal equipment and both sides of the garage work equally hard," he said.
"I don't want to be number 1 because I have to be able to beat my teammate with the same car. And the bottom line is that it is more satisfying anyway."