Daniel Ricciardo: The F1 Journey of Smiles and Speed

Daniel Ricciardo is an Australian racing driver with a substantial tenure in Formula 1. For many years, he competed for teams associated with Red Bull Racing. This association came to an end in 2019 when he became the new driver for Renault. However, after two years with the French team, Ricciardo made a switch to McLaren, where he partnered with Lando Norris in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In 2023, Ricciardo has taken on the role of the third driver for Red Bull.

Although born on July 1, 1989, Daniel Ricciardo is originally Australian but also has Italian blood running through his veins. His father is Italian, which explains the family name. He goes by the nickname “The Honey Badger,” a moniker he attributes to his driving style. According to him, it reflects the idea of appearing unthreatening while being the least fearful creature in the animal kingdom.

Daniel Ricciardo Racing Career

Ricciardo in 2021

Throughout his relatively lengthy career, which commenced in 2011, Daniel Ricciardo has been associated with several teams. As of 2021, he joined his fifth employer: McLaren, stepping in as a replacement for Carlos Sainz, who had moved to Ferrari. At McLaren, he serves as the teammate to Lando Norris, a young Brit who has become a fixture in Woking. Ricciardo aims to outperform his teammate.

However, this wasn’t particularly smooth sailing in 2021. Despite the experienced Australian consistently earning points, his ten years younger teammate consistently outpaces him. While Norris frequently finishes in the top five, Ricciardo tends to end up toward the back of the top 10 more often than not. Midway through the season, Ricciardo seems to have found his groove at McLaren and surprisingly secures a victory at the Monza Grand Prix. Alongside Norris, who takes second place, they achieve the only one-two finish of the 2021 season. The duo accumulates a substantial number of points for McLaren, crucial in the battle for third place against Ferrari. Unfortunately, it proves insufficient, and the British team settles for fourth place in the constructor’s championship.

Ricciardo Defeats World Champion Vettel
Daniel Ricciardo had been part of the Red Bull Junior Team since 2008, winning titles in various feeder series. A Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2012 seemed almost certain, but Ricciardo had the opportunity to gain experience with the humble HRT team from mid-2011. After several seasons in the midfield, Ricciardo was promoted to Red Bull Racing in 2014, replacing fellow Australian Mark Webber as the teammate of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who had dominated the past four seasons. However, Ricciardo was not daunted by the challenge.

In 2014, Vettel struggled with the relatively subpar RB10, while Ricciardo emerged as the only driver besides Mercedes to win races (three in total) that season. The Australian secured his debut victory in Canada.

Vettel departed Red Bull in 2015, and Daniil Kvyat joined Ricciardo at the Austrian team. In early 2016, Kvyat was replaced by the then eighteen-year-old Max Verstappen. The following three seasons witnessed intense battles and occasional clashes between Ricciardo and Verstappen. In Hungary in 2017, Verstappen collided with his teammate, forcing Ricciardo out of the race. A year later in Baku, both drivers retired after a substantial crash.

In 2018, with Verstappen gaining the upper hand, Ricciardo, facing technical issues, decided to make a strategic move. Despite challenges, the usually cheerful driver managed to secure seven victories in his tenure with the Austrian team.

Daniel Ricciardo Racing Career Lean Years at Renault

In 2019, Ricciardo made a controversial switch from Red Bull Racing to Renault. The move raised eyebrows due to the strained relationship between Red Bull and the French manufacturer. The team had been using an underperforming Renault engine for years, leading to tensions between the management of both teams. Nevertheless, Ricciardo opted to drive for the two-time world champion in 2005 and 2006 starting from the 2019 season.

However, success proved elusive. Renault was already a midfield team before Ricciardo’s arrival, and it remained so throughout his two seasons with the team. Accustomed to contending for podium positions, the Australian found himself settling for modest points finishes. In 2019, he concluded the season in the ninth position in the championship standings. The 2020 season showed some improvement, with Ricciardo securing two podium finishes, claiming third place at both the Nürburgring and Imola. Despite these positive results, he decided to close the chapter with Renault after just two years. McLaren became his next destination.

Daniel Ricciardo Racing Career F1 Daniel Ricciardo Racing Career F1 Daniel Ricciardo Racing Career F1

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