Daniel Ricciardo is an Italian-Australian racing driver currently competing for Mclaren in Formula One. He made his debut in 2011 at the British Grand Prix with the HRT team. He’s driven for teams like Scuderia Torro Rosso, Red Bull, Renault, and Mclaren. Known for his jovial attitude and witty comments, Ricciardo is one of the more popular drivers in the paddock.
Born on 1 July 1989 in Perth, Western Australia, Ricciardo was born to an Italian father Giuseppe “Joe” Ricciardo, and Australian mother Grace. Ricciardo’s father used to race at the Barbagallo Raceway in Wanneroo and this is considered to be one of his early race memories, He’s often termed as the “Honey Badger” for his driving style in the way he goes after everyone and fears no one.
Ricciardo started karting at the age of nine and entered numerous karting events at the beginning of his career. By 2006 he had been able to acquire sponsorship and take part in the Formula BMW Asian championship with Eurasia Motorsport. He ended the season third in the championship with 2 victories to his name.
In 2007, Ricciardo would move to Formula Renault and compete in the European and Italian championships. He finished the Italian championship in 7th position and would stay in Formula Renault for 2008 as well. He would win the Western European title but finish second to Valtteri Bottas in the Eurocup.
In 2009, Ricciardo would win the British Formula 3 title and would become the first Australian since David Brabham to win the title. In 2010, Ricciardo would finish as runner-up in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and would ultimately graduate to Formula One with HRT in 2011.
Ricciardo would make his Formula One debut with HRT at the British Grand Prix in 2011. In a team struggling both for funds and pace on the grid, Ricciardo would spend the year learning the processes of Formula One, all the time waiting for his eventual promotion to the Red Bull Junior team Scuderia Torro Rosso in 2012.
Daniel Ricciardo would team up with Jean-Eric Vergne at Torro Rosso for the 2012 season. Both the drivers in their first year had a lot to prove as they had just replaced Sebastian Buemi and Jamie Alguersuari who was unceremoniously dropped because of a lack of performance. The honors would go to Vergne in the first year as he would end up scoring 16 points as compared to 10 for Ricciardo. Ricciardo however would show a considerable advantage in qualifying as he would regularly outqualify Vergne on Saturdays.
In the 2013 season, Ricciardo kept up the advantage he enjoyed in qualifying and improved his race performances as well. Ricciardo would outscore and outqualify Vergne throughout the season and when Mark Webber retired at the end of 2013 there was hardly any doubt over who would replace him at Red Bull.
Ricciardo would join 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull for the 2014 season. Due to changes in regulations, Red Bull would suffer massively in competitiveness and fall down the pecking order as compared to their lofty standards in 2013. Ricciardo however would use 2014 to announce himself to the world of Formula One. He would end up taking three victories and multiple podiums to finish the season 3rd in the standings. On his way, Ricciardo would beat the reigning champion, Sebastian Vettel, in the same car as Vettel would be both outraced and unqualified by the Australian.
In 2015, Ricciardo would become the de facto team leader as Vettel would leave Red Bull for Ferrari, and youngster Danil Kvyat would replace him. 2015 would not be as fruitful for Ricciardo as he would not be able to achieve results similar to the ones he did in 2014 and would finish the season 8th in the standings behind his teammate.
In 2016, Ricciardo would return to form and finish the season 3rd in the standings. In this season he would also welcome Mex Verstappen to the team as his teammate and both the drivers would win 1 race each during the season.
In 2017, Ferrari would make significant gains and leapfrog Red Bull in terms of pace. Ricciardo would keep up his consistent form throughout the season but with Red Bull lacking the pace to fight the Mercedes, he would have to be content with finishing 5th in the championship.
In 2018 the tides would start to turn at Red Bull as Max Verstappen would make significant improvements to his driving and challenge Ricciardo. The pair would clash at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and tempers would flare at multiple other races. Ricciardo, on his part, owing to the discomfort within the team would opt out of renewing his contract and move to Renault for the 2019 season.
The Renault project was supposed to be long-term. Renault, at the time when Ricciardo joined, was still a midfield team. Ricciardo would take some time to adapt to the environment but soon start outshining his teammate Nico Hulkenberg. Although it would be his first season without a podium since 2013, Ricciardo was able to soundly beat his teammate.
In 2020, Ricciardo announced that he would be moving to Mclaren at the end of the 2020 season. In a season where Ferrari suffered a huge setback with their engine, midfield teams finally had an opportunity to challenge for podiums. Ricciardo on his part, now partnering with Esteban Ocon, would contribute two out of the three podiums achieved by the team and would finish the season in 5th place.
Ricciardo would team up with Lando Norris at Mclaren for the 2021 season.
- BRDC The Bruce McLaren Trophy: 2013
- Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini: 2014
- Confartigianato Motori Driver of the Year: 2014
- GQ Australia Sportsman of the Year: 2014
- BRDC The Bruce McLaren Trophy: 2014
- BRDC The Innes Ireland Trophy: 2014
- BRDC The Innes Ireland Trophy: 2015
- Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough Performance of the Year: 2015
- BRDC The Bruce McLaren Trophy: 2016
- Confartigianato Motori Driver of the Year: 2018