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Daniel Ricciardo




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2023 - number of wins:
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Daniel Ricciardo


Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia

Official website:


Having begun Karting at the age of 9, by 15 Daniel had contested and won numerous series and it was only natural that in 2005 - yet to reach his sixteenth birthday - he made the switch to single-seaters.

In a Van Diemen which was only a few months younger than him, Daniel contested the Western Australian Formula Ford Championship, finishing the season eighth overall.

Later that same year, using a leased Van Diemen which was only slightly newer, Daniel contested the national Formula Ford series in Melbourne but sadly his car just wasn't up to it.

In 2006, having won a Formula BMW Asia Pacific Scholarship, Daniel won two races on his way to finishing third overall in the series. In addition to contesting two races in the Formula BMW UK Series with Motaworld Racing, the youngster also took part in the Formula BMW World Final with Fortec Motorsport, finishing fifth overall.

2007 saw Daniel make the switch to Formula Renault, the Australian entering the Italian championship and also a few rounds of the Eurocup with RP Motorsport. Though he finished sixth overall in the Italian series - including a podium result at Valencia - neither was particularly successful.

He remained in Formula Renault in 2008, this time contesting the European and Western European championships with SG Formula. It was a wholly better season with Daniel winning the Western European series and finishing runner-up in the other. In addition, the Australian took part in the Masters of Formula 3 and two races (Nurburgring) in the Formula Three Euroseries both with SG Formula.

For 2009 he moved up to F3 full-time contesting and winning the prestigious British championship with Carlin Motorsport. In 20 races he achieved 13 podium results including 7 wins. Along the way the Australian also made his debut in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Tech Racing contesting both races at Portimao.

In addition to the Masters of F3, in which he retired on the first lap with a gearbox problem, Daniel also headed to Macau with Carlin. However, despite having qualified fifth and subsequently finishing sixth in the qualification race he was one of ten drivers eliminated in a first lap accident in the main event.

At season end Daniel drove the Red Bull on all three days of the 'rookie test' at Jerez, the Australian ultimately posting the fastest overall time, indeed, the only driver to break into the 1:17s.

On 26 January 2010, Daniel was named as one of two official test and reserve drivers for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, the Australian sharing the role with Brendon Hartley. It was also revealed that the two would be teammates at Tech 1 with whom they would contest the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

2010 was not without incident for the Australian. A cycling accident - a la Mark Webber - meant he missed the second test of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season, while at Spa - the third round of the championship - he was relegated to last on the grid after being deemed to have hindered other drivers.

Despite a spectacular crash at Silverstone, Daniel finished runner-up to Russian Mikhail Aleshin in the championship, the Australian, who had scored four wins and eight podium finishes, missing out on the title by just two points.

In F1, for the first six races, Daniel and Hartley shared test and reserve driver duties for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, alternating race by race, however, after the kiwi was dropped from the Red Bull Driver Programme it fell to the Australian to become the sole test and reserve for both teams.

In the post-season Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi, Daniel topped the timesheets on both days, and it came as no surprise when he was named test and reserve driver for 2011, admittedly for Toro Rosso and not Red Bull. However, many saw this as a means of keeping Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari on their toes.

As well as taking part in the Friday morning practice sessions over the course of the 2011 F1 season, Daniel contested the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with ISR Racing, hoping to go one better than he did in 2010.

Following a difficult start to his Formula Renault 3.5 season in Aragon, and again at Spa, things picked up at Monza, while he scored a vital victory in Monaco.

Shortly after the Nurburgring rounds of the series - in which he finished second and fifth - it was announced that a deal had been reached between Hispania and Red Bull which would see the Australian replace Narain Karthikeyan in the second car alongside Tonio Liuzzi for the remainder of the season, though the Indian was still scheduled to contest his home Grand Prix.

Consequently, Daniel made his F1 debut in early July at Silverstone, contesting the Formula Renault 3.5 races at the same event just a few weeks later.

Considering the equipment at his disposal, and the sheer fact that he had been dropped in at the deep end (mid-season), the young Australian gave a good account of himself. In his debut F1 race he qualified last (twenty-fourth) and finished last (nineteenth) admitting that his aim was purely to get mileage under his belt as opposed to trying to set the world alight.

Little by little his confidence grew, and by Monza he was out-qualifying his far more experienced teammate and out-pacing him in the races. Indeed, though out-qualified six times, in ten outings he finished ahead of Liuzzi four times out of the five races they both finished.

Despite his lack of experience there were very few mistakes, his only retirements being the result of technical failures in Belgium and Abu Dhabi and non-classification in Italy.

Furthermore, he continued to contest the Formula Renault 3.5 series - finishing fifth overall - missing the final round only because it clashed with the Japanese Grand Prix.

It came as no surprise therefore when, in mid-December, Daniel was confirmed as a regular driver for Toro Rosso in 2012, the Faenza outfit having opted to dump both of its 2011 drivers.

It is telling that having suffered one of its worst seasons in F1, the Faenza team, which is not known for its patience and understanding, opted to retain both of its drivers for 2013. One can only assume that this was an admission of guilt from the team, that it failed to provide Daniel and Jean-Eric with a decent car.

Eighth placed Williams scored almost three times as many points as Toro Rosso, while the only teams to score less were the three newbies - all of which failed to open their accounts.

While one wants to be fair to Daniel - and his teammate - the fact is that neither appeared to have that special something, and while they were limited by the equipment at their disposal, let's not forget how Alonso wrung the neck out of the Minardi all those years ago. Like a good guitarist on a cheap, crappy guitar, real talent will out.

Having qualified sixth in Bahrain, the Australian never made it to Q3 again. Furthermore, although he only had 11 races under his belt before 2012, his rookie teammate had the better results, though they were nothing to write home about.

The one bright spot is that Daniel was one of the most consistent drivers, completing 1175 of the 1192 laps (98.6%) that comprised the 2012 season. It's not a lot but it's a start.

Looking ahead to 2013 the one bright note for Toro Rosso was the signing of technical director James Key from Sauber. Though it was too late to make much difference to the STR8, certainly in the early stages of the season, his arrival lifted the team.

Despite the obvious limitations of the 2013 car, for the most part Daniel gave a good account of himself, certainly on Saturdays, getting into Q3 on no less than 8 occasions.

His season was typified by the exhaust problem that saw him fail to see the flag in the first two races, though he finally got on the scoreboard in China, where a strong performance saw him score his best result ever, bringing the STR8 home in seventh. Granted he had qualified seventh also, but the fact is that the Australian, as in 2012, tended to perform better on Saturdays, certainly compared to his teammate.

Other than China, Italy stood out as a typically dogged performance, though he deserved more than 10th in Belgium having started from the back of the grid.

Italy also marked the weekend when Daniel was finally confirmed as Sebastian Vettel's teammate at Red Bull in 2014, the Australian stepping into the cockpit (sort of) vacated by his countryman, Mark Webber.

"We've seen in his junior career in Formula 3 and Renault World Series that he's capable of winning races and championships," said Christian Horner, explaining the decision to recruit him. "He's stood out in each of these categories and we've followed his progress with great interest. He's got all the attributes that are required to drive for our team: he's got a great natural ability, he's a good personality and a great guy to work with."

It was clear that Daniel would have his work cut out in 2014, for other than the fact that Red Bull was very much 'Seb's team', there was the raft of new rules to deal with.

Looking ahead to the new season, we wrote: "If Daniel continues to perform well on Saturday and show the same consistency witnessed in 2013 on Sundays, he could soon begin to make his mark. No pun intended.

"On the other hand, having witnessed his infectious grin for the last couple of years, it would be sad to see him worn down by the pressure of 'partnering' a talent as obvious as Vettel's and all that comes with it."

How on earth were we to know that by season end the popular Australian's grin would be even broader and that it would be teammate Vettel who was "worn down by the pressure".

Fact is, along with Valtteri Bottas, Daniel was the true revelation of 2014, the youngster emerging not only as a race winner but as a serious title contender.

Much has been made of the fact that teammate Vettel struggled with the new rules but the fact is the rules were new for everyone.

The opening test at Jerez saw the team complete less mileage than any other, while the second test (in Bahrain) was little better. Though all the Renault powered teams were suffering, the RB10's problems were exacerbated by the tight packaging of the power unit.

The final test, again in Bahrain, showed a slight sign of improvement, but still Daniel remained 2.485s off (pace-setter) Felipe Massa's best, and reliability continued to cause concern.

Consequently, when the Australian finished second in the season opener, there were some who ventured that maybe the Austrian team had been sandbagging (for all three tests?), though teammate Vettel's retirement (engine) after just 4 laps appeared to paint the more accurate picture.

Interestingly, not for the first time, the stewards took a closer look at Daniel's RB10 and the Australian was subsequently disqualified for fuel irregularities.

From then on things began to improve and over the course of the year, on those rare occasions when Mercedes failed to deliver, there was Daniel to pick up the pieces, sometimes fortuitously, sometimes not (Hungary).

Rather than being intimidated by his illustrious teammate, who famously said "tough luck" when told in Bahrain that Daniel was quicker, the Australian got on with the job in hand... and continued smiling.

Not only were there the three wins - the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race in 2014 - there was the 12-7 drubbing of his illustrious world champion teammate in qualifying, and the 14-5 margin in terms of finishing positions.

That he finished a clear third in the final standings and was, until a couple of races from the end, still in with a chance of winning the title, tells you all you need to know about Daniel's year.

With Vettel heading off to Ferrari, Daniel became de facto team leader at Red Bull. A year ago we would have questioned whether he was ready for such responsibility, but based on his performances in 2014 we had no such doubts. Indeed, as we wrote ahead of the new season "providing Red Bull (and Renault) can provide the equipment, Daniel could well become Australia's first world champion since Alan Jones".

They didn't, didn't.

As feared, 2015 was not a good year for Red Bull. Pre-season testing looked promising enough, for while off the pace of the Mercedes - who wasn't! - the RB11 appeared to be holding its own in terms of the pack behind. However, once the season got underway it was clear that whilst Renault had improved its reliability, power (or the lack of it) was still a major issue.

Indeed, the season opener saw Kvyat stop on the way to the grid with a gearbox issue, whilst Daniel could only manage sixth, behind Nasr in the Sauber.

As the team struggled to resolve its power issues, and attention was focussed fully on slower tracks, it became clear that it was missing the input from Adrian Newey.

Fourth and fifth was a good result at the notoriously slow and twisty Monaco, though an issue with Daniel's engine settings in qualifying may well have cost the Australian a podium finish.

No surprises that another slow and twisty track, the Hungaroring, saw the team take its biggest points haul of the year. Indeed, but for a clash with Rosberg which necessitated an extra stop for a front wing, Daniel might well have finished second.

A typically dogged performance at Monza, saw Daniel, starting from 19th on the grid, finish a very impressive 8th, despite a package that was in no way fit for purpose on such a high speed track.

Starting from the front row in Singapore, another track which clearly suited the RB11, Daniel really needed an appearance by the Safety Car if he was to take the fight to his former teammate. Sadly, in the absence of a Nelson Piquet type mishap, it never happened.

Saving the best for last, sort of, Daniel gave a magnificent performance in difficult conditions in Austin, one of the only times in 2015 that a Mercedes (Hamilton) was fairly and squarely overtaken. Sadly, as the conditions improved and the track dried up so too did Daniel's hopes of pulling off a miracle.

Despite the numerous problems and bad luck, and the added pressure of a fairly feisty new teammate, not only were there some epic drives, Daniel somehow kept smiling.

Even in Brazil, when, despite the much anticipated engine upgrade he found himself slower than his teammate - running the old unit - that fabulous grin was still in place.

While it was Rosberg, Hamilton and Max Verstappen who grabbed the headlines in 2016, for editor Balfe, at least, it was Daniel who stole the show.

Though on paper Daniel won but one race, and that courtesy of Hamilton's late engine failure - but for bad luck, bad strategy and poor pit work, the Australian might have won at least three more.

On the back of 2015 and its failings both on track and in terms of threats to the sport, Red Bull came into 2016 expecting very little, hoping upon hope that it might be in a position to battle with Williams for third as Ferrari sought about closing the gap to Mercedes.

The first few races did little to dispel this line of thinking, Kvyat failing to make it to the Melbourne grid for the second successive year and then suffering a number of close encounters with Sebastian Vettel while Daniel got his season underway with a string of fourth places.

Then came Spain.

Following a far from impressive home Grand Prix for Kvyat, where the Russian had another of his infamous clashes with Vettel, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix Red Bull opted to move him back to Toro Rosso and replace him with Max Verstappen.

Courtesy of the Mercedes demolition derby on lap 1, the Red Bulls looked set to pull off one of the biggest shocks of the season, Ricciardo and his new teammate set for a surprise 1-2. However, concerned at the pace of the Ferraris, the team put its drivers on different strategies and while this worked against the Australian, his teenage teammate was able to take victory on his debut with the Austrian team, thereby becoming the youngest race winner in the history of F1.

If Daniel was let down by his team in Spain, worse was to follow. In Monaco, having been super-quick all weekend, Daniel was seemingly heading for a well-deserved win when his team totally screwed up his pit stop. Though he finished second, the Australian knew he'd been let down and for once that infectious grin was missing.

While another team error cost him in Canada, it all finally came together in Malaysia, albeit with more than a little help from Hamilton's engine failure. That said, nobody, surely not even the Briton, begrudged Daniel his win even if it did lead to Verstappen and Rosberg having to suffer the bitter taste of defeat - literally - when the Australian introduced the wider world to the shoey.

Along with Perez, Bottas, Ocon and Vandoorne, Daniel finished every single race he started, the Australian completing all but one lap of the entire 2016 season. The one lap that slipped through the net coming in Russia, a weekend the team would prefer to forget.

As impressive as young Max might have been, Daniel won the qualifying battle 11-6, having previously beaten Kvyat 4-0.

Verstappen, with his feisty defence and ferocious attacks continued to grab the headlines, and the applause, while Daniel kept his head down and got on with the job.

Though updates were rare, certainly on the aero side, Renault played its part and as Red Bull moved ahead of Ferrari so it was Daniel who consistently delivered, taking the fight to the Mercedes pair. And while's Verstappen's overtakes won the plaudits, Daniel made quite a few impressive moves of his own, and let's not forget his masterful put down of his precocious young teammate in Malaysia.

Ahead of the 2017 season we opined: "Despite the (almost) ever present grin and the quick wit, 2016 proved that Daniel is an out-and-out racer more than capable, and worthy, of the title, and providing Red Bull learned the lessons of the Vettel/Webber era, and from Mercedes feuding duo, he might well take that title with the Austrian team. However, if focus begins to switch, Vettel-style, to young Verstappen, Daniel would be best served taking his talents elsewhere."

That infectious grin was put to the test more than a few times in 2017, as the Australian and his team suffered more than their fair share of reliability issues.

In true Red Bull style, the Austrian team poo-pooed the notion that designating its chassis the RB13 might prove unlucky, only to find out the hard way not to tempt fate. At the opening round, his home race, Daniel had a portent of what was to follow for he and his teammate when he lost fuel pressure just 25 laps into the race, having crashed the previous day in qualifying.

While the RB13 was a typically good Red Bull chassis, the shortcomings of the engine made it tough for the drivers, particularly on Saturday afternoons. However, in race trim, when allowed, the pair usually came into their own allowing the Austrian outfit - all things considered - to punch well above its weight.

That said, despite three wins, the team was 300 points adrift of Mercedes at season end, with Ferrari also showing the multi champions a clean pair of heels.

Daniel's sole win of the year was largely fortuitous. While Hamilton eventually lost out to a headrest issue and Vettel got lost in the red mist, under the circumstances it was Verstappen who would surely have opened the team's win account in Azerbaijan has it not been for the inimitable engine failure.

With Verstappen suffering most of his failures at the beginning of the season and Daniel at the end, only on seven occasions did both Milton Keynes cars make it to the flag.

As a result of his various DNFs, Verstappen lost out to Daniel in terms of the standings, but all things considered gave most of the better performances. That said, Daniel was no slouch, and gave a number of very impressive performances, and some of the very best overtakes of the year.

Ignoring the move Vettel put over on him in China, Ricciardo's dispatching of Raikkonen at Monza was sublime, and let's not forget his charge through the field in Brazil.

The one time we saw a crack in the relationship with his teammate was Hungary, where, having been eliminated by the youngster in an overly ambitious move, the Australian pronounced the Dutchman as a "sore loser".

As feared, despite his obvious talent, Daniel was beginning to look like a number two at Red Bull, a situation reinforced by Verstappen's surprise decision to sign a new three-year deal, despite the team's engine plans post-2018 not being known at that time.

Admitting surprise at the timing of his teammate's deal, Daniel insisted he was in no rush to sign on the dotted line for the Austrian outfit or anyone else, and with Toto Wolff openly admitting his admiration for the Australian who could blame him.

Going into the new season, in Daniel and Verstappen Red Bull still had the strongest and most exciting line-up on the grid, and should Renault deliver in terms of pace and reliability we expected to see not only a great scrap between the Austrian team and its Italian and German rivals but an equally good scrap between the Australian and his young Dutch teammate.

Sadly however, for the most part it was not to be.

For Red Bull, it was very much a season of two halves as far as its two drivers were concerned, Verstappen having issues in the opening races while Daniel suffered a string of failures in the final 13.

It began well enough, with the popular Australian winning in China, but two weeks later, having already been involved in a number of incidents, it was Verstappen who collided with Daniel in Azerbaijan, thereby ending both their races.

In Monaco however, came one of those rare fairy-tale moments, when, having already taken pole, Daniel took a popular win at Monaco. Popular not only because of who he is but because we all remembered his heartbreak after being robbed of victory in the Principality just a couple of years earlier due to his team's woeful strategy.

However, as the Australian made a fool of himself in the pool and posed with his proud parents, who would have believed that just six races in, Monaco would be his final podium of the season?

In the races that followed Daniel was hit by numerous technical issues, suffering six DNFs along with the inevitable grid penalties that accompanied each replacement component.

Depending on where you stand on conspiracy theories, the situation wasn't helped by the shock news - two days after the post-Hungary test - that Daniel was to leave Red Bull at season end for (the dreaded) Renault.

Though the Australian talked about his torment in making the decision, and the team admitted to being shocked by the move, it was in truth the only option open to him, and one predicted by Pitpass.

It was clear that Verstappen - like Vettel before him - would be the Austrian team's chosen one, and Daniel opted not to repeat the mistakes of his countryman Mark Webber.

As for the conspiracy theories, the fact that his car's reliability became increasingly worse once he'd announced his planned move, is probably something that he'll expand on in his inevitable biography a few years down the line.

Though, Verstappen is quicker and, dare one say, the more exciting of the two, Daniel is one of those drivers who can be relied upon to bring home the bacon, and would surely be a loss to the Austrian team.

In putting his own interests first he had taken a brave gamble, but other than the fact that Verstappen rules in Milton Keynes, the Renault is a proven race-winning engine, while Red Bull's switch to Honda by no means guarantees instant success.

Since returning to F1, Renault has improved little by little, however Daniel would be looking for a significant improvement in 2019 and beyond.

More interestingly however, was the failure of some of the other teams to snap him up, after all, as well as being a proven race-winner, he is a PR dream, for behind the toothy grin lies a true racer.

"Do not let yourself be drawn on the number of points we want/expect to score," was one of the 'instructions' issued to team members ahead of the RS19's launch. "Do not state we are targeting podiums, the position we want to finish in the Constructors' Championship (eg. Fourth / third) or our aim in classification in the drivers' championship".

Other topics that were verboten, included: "Engine power in kW. Our expected / planned engine evolutions over the season (different specifications etc). Technical details on the chassis (eg. evolutions on suspension / performance gains) and Aero points we have gained or lost since 2018."

Clearly, Renault was expecting a tough season, and didn't want to say anything that might come back to haunt it at a later date.

It was right not to make any rash predictions, for by season end, having lost out to McLaren, the French outfit was under increasing pressure from Toro Rosso.

While the engine was an improvement on previous seasons - stop tittering at the back - the chassis was actually a step backwards, with reliability also an issue. The retirement of both cars within a lap of one another in Bahrain, both suffering the same MHU-K issue, was a clear sign that the French team still had some way to go.

As the French outfit focussed on reliability rather than pace it began to lose ground, and the numerous upgrades throughout the season barely helped.

Like Haas, the RS19 appeared to have the tiniest of operating windows, and was only truly competitive at low-downforce tracks like Montreal and Monza.

Race pace was usually better than single lap pace, but poor performance on Saturday afternoons meant the team was already at a disadvantage come Sunday.

Though handicapped by the equipment at his disposal, Daniel still manged to give glimpses of his talent, most notably in Canada and Italy, not forgetting his particularly strong performance in Brazil where he finished sixth, despite having slipped to last following a clash with Magnussen at the start.

On the other hand, he will want to forget Baku, where, a typically bold out-braking move saw him and Kvyat take to the escape road, only for the former Red Bull driver to reverse into the Russian's car. Oops!

Other than that, and the shortcomings of the equipment at his disposal, it was a strong season for Daniel, both in the races and qualifying, certainly compared to his teammate. Out-qualifying Hulkenberg 14-7, Daniel scored 54 points to the German's 37.

Though there were a few days over the course of the season when his infectious grin was missing, his 22m a year salary will have given him some comfort, his impressive pay packet revealed in a legal case involving his former manager.

While he effectively saw off Hulkenberg, in 2020 he is to be partnered by Esteban Ocon, a driver not exactly known for team spirit in terms of teammates. Just ask Sergio.

Other than dealing with the Frenchman, and hoping that his team can produce a better car this time around, Daniel - like a number of drivers - will be considering his options for 2021 and beyond, especially as there is currently a question mark over the future of Renault.

Without doubt, the Australian is among the top seven or eight drivers out there - hence the 22m a year pay packet - and even though Verstappen and Leclerc have long-term deals sorted Daniel must be on a number of team's wish lists.

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