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Daniel Ricciardo gives Butler the boot

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Oct 23, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo (3) of Australia during the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo (3) of Australia during the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo laughingly handed Scottish film star Gerard Butler a sweaty boot filled with Red Bull on the U.S. Grand Prix podium on Sunday and demanded he drink.

With a global live audience of millions watching, and tens of thousands at the track, the actor swallowed his pride and also the contents.

"I hear Mr Butler does not drink alcohol, I respect that completely," the Australian, who finished third for the Red Bull team, told the crowd as Butler approached to conduct the podium interviews.

"But I believe he’s going to drink some Red Bull out of my shoe right now. The race wasn’t that exciting but hopefully now..."

Ricciardo, a race winner in Malaysia this month, has made a habit of quaffing the podium champagne from his race boot -- dubbing the gesture a 'Shoey' -- when he finishes in the top three.

He said last month that he had been introduced to the quirky celebration by Australian fishermen and surfers and has enticed rival drivers to join him in the dubious ritual.

"If the sparkling wine is cold, then it tastes good. Normally on the podium, it's cold so you don't get all the flavours but if it's warm, then you get the sweat and all that through it ... but the cold taste kills the bad stuff," he had said in Singapore.

Ricciardo said then that he would probably limit the celebration to victories only, but he said nothing about extending the 'treat' to others.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg were spared on Sunday, however, with Butler the target instead.

"You’ve got to be kidding me. I hate you," said the Scot, who played the role of King Leonidas in the 2009 movie '300' set in ancient Sparta, before raising the boot to his lips.

"Fortunately I could taste mostly the Red Bull," he told Hamilton when asked about the flavour.

He later sounded as if he might have actually enjoyed the experience: "Too much fun at the F1 U.S. Grand Prix, especially being given the boot by @danielricciardo," he said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ian Ransom)


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