Daniel Ricciardo

Points 37 Position 11 Date of Birth July / 01 / 1989
Place of Birth Perth Team McLaren Car Number 3

Daniel Ricciardo is an Australian racing driver who was born in Perth, Western Australia on 1 July 1989.

Ricciardo burst onto the F1 scene back in 2011 as a member of the Red Bull young driver programme. The team paid struggling outfit HRT to take him on and give him some F1 experience.

The Aussie could manage no higher than P18 that season in a dreadful car, but fortunately he would earn a seat at Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso for the 2012 campaign.

After two years with Toro Rosso, Ricciardo would be promoted to the main Red Bull team where he beat team-mate Sebastian Vettel at his first and only attempt, with the four-time World Champion then leaving to join Ferrari.

Ricciardo would spend five years with Red Bull, claiming seven race wins in that time and a further 29 podiums.

Sadly, his career would pretty much come full circle with the team though - young Max Verstappen's influence within the team was growing and Ricciardo made the shock switch to Renault for 2019.

After a two-year spell with Renault, Ricciardo jumped ship to McLaren after Carlos Sainz replaced Vettel at Ferrari, though his struggles over two seasons with the Woking squad sent him back to Red Bull, but as their reserve driver, the Aussie deciding to recharge rather than push for a 2023 seat.

Ricciardo is commonly known around F1 by his nickname of 'The Honey Badger' and is loved for his jovial nature.

Outside of the sport he is a big fan of Australian rules football team West Coast Eagles and was the club's No 1 ticket holder in 2015 and 2016.

Career

On 30 June 2011, Ricciardo was contracted to HRT by Red Bull. He made his debut in the 2011 British Grand Prix, finishing P19.

Thankfully he would land a more competitive drive for 2012, earning a call-up to the Toro Rosso team where he raced alongside Jean-Eric Vergne.

In his first race for the team, also his home race - the 2012 Australian Grand Prix - Ricciardo was able to pass Vergne on the last lap to take P9, earning his first two points in F1.

Ricciardo's 10 points were not enough to beat Vergne in his rookie season with the Frenchman scoring 16, but one year later he put that right with P7s in China and Italy helping Ricciardo to a points tally of 20 and P14 in the Championship, one place and seven points ahead of Vergne.

His performances were enough to earn a spot at Red Bull for 2014 as Ricciardo stepped up to replace his retiring compatriot, Mark Webber.

It was a new era in F1 as 2014 arrived, a turbo-hybrid era to be exact, and Red Bull's dominance alongside Sebastian Vettel was to come to an end.

And the four-time World Champion had further issues in the inter-team battle courtesy of Ricciardo.

In a season which Mercedes dominated, Ricciardo finished 'best of the rest' in P3 after claiming victory at the Canadian, Hungarian and Belgian GPs. Vettel, meanwhile, ended up down in P5, claiming 167 points to Ricciardo's 238.

With Vettel's departure came a new challenge for Ricciardo in the form of Daniil Kvyat.

It was a season of struggles for Red Bull and Ricciardo as he slumped to P8 with just 92 points. Ahead was Kvyat on 95 as he showed Ricciardo what it was like to be beaten by a rookie team-mate.

2016 brought better fortunes for Ricciardo as he returned to that P3 spot in the Championship, collecting his only win of the season in Malaysia.

But he was to be given a new team-mate early in the campaign, a certain Max Verstappen who had impressed at such a young age in his limited time with Toro Rosso. The Dutchman's victory at the Spanish GP in what was his debut race for Red Bull showed Ricciardo had a challenge on his hands.

Verstappen brought the fight again in 2017 but rookie mistakes were still very much creeping in, meaning Red Bull needed the calm head that was Ricciardo.

His only win would come in Baku, but that was part of a five-race streak of podium finishes as Ricciardo scored 200 points to finish the year P5, 32 clear of Verstappen.

It was 2018, though, when things really went south for Ricciardo and his position at Red Bull.

The team had been using Renault power since 2007, but the reliability issues which had started to crop up in 2017 practically ravaged Ricciardo's 2018.

Add in the fact he and Verstappen punted each other out of the race in Baku and you could see why Ricciardo was considering his options with his Red Bull deal coming to an end.

Despite taking impressive wins in China and Monaco, Ricciardo ended up down in P6 in the Drivers' Championship, scoring 170 points, and he would announce that for 2019 he was switching to Renault - ironically - signing a two-year contract.

Few could see the logic behind that move. Renault were still waiting for their first podium in F1 since returning as a manufacturer in 2016.

The season followed its expected script as Ricciardo was forced to battle in the midfield. Italy was as good as it got for he used Renault's brief spike in performance to finish P4, but 45.5 seconds behind race winner Charles Leclerc.

He was at least able to defeat team-mate Nico Hulkenberg. A shaky start made way for more polished performances and Ricciardo would claim P9 in the Drivers' Championship with 54 points, 17 clear of Hulkenberg.

He may have claimed he did not see it as a year of his career wasted, but at the same time admitted frustration at his finishing position, saying: "I don’t see myself as the ninth best driver on the grid."

Ninth position became fifth in 2020, which was to be Ricciardo's second and last year with Renault. Before the season had even begun, as part of a 'driver transfer chain' he announced he was joining McLaren for 2021 in place of Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.

However, he made sure he left Renault with some highlights. The team secured their first three podium finishes as a manufacturer since 2011 and Ricciardo provided two of them, in the Eifel and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix that were added to a schedule rejigged because of the global health pandemic.

In doing so, Ricciardo won a bet with team boss Cyril Abiteboul, who had promised to have a tattoo if the Australian driver achieved a podium finish during 2020.

With 14 points finishes from a possible 17, Ricciardo enjoyed a superbly consistent year and was the highest-placed driver in the Championship standings who did not manage to win a race.

Understandably then, there was a great buzz surrounding his move to McLaren, but the first-half of the season was nothing short of a disaster.

Struggling to understand where team-mate Lando Norris was finding his pace from in the MCL35M, Ricciardo often was not even in the same ballpark.

Norris failed to finish in the top five only once in the opening 10 rounds, that including three podium finishes, while Ricciardo recorded a best finish of P5 in the first-half of the season, that arriving at Silverstone.

Overall, the Aussie had put points on the board eight times in 11 races for part one of the 2021 campaign, but really, his form was a far cry from what was expected. Monaco was a particular low, where the Aussie was consistently over half-a-second per lap shy of Norris, while in the race he would be lapped by his team-mate.

However, while the old 'a game of two halves' cliché is not normally associated with Formula 1, for Ricciardo, it was exactly the way to sum up his season.

Refreshed from the summer break, Ricciardo put his McLaren P4 on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix in wet conditions, that becoming his race result when the Grand Prix was abandoned following two laps behind the Safety Car.

It was his performance two rounds later in Italy though which was the true breakthrough, as Ricciardo, internally irate after falling just 0.029s short of Max Verstappen's Q3 time, went on a rampage.

Starting P5, Ricciardo would end sprint qualifying in P3, which became a grid slot of P2 for the Italian GP since Valtteri Bottas was to be dumped down the order.

At the race start Ricciardo passed Verstappen, keeping his ex-Red Bull team-mate at bay in what turned into not only his first McLaren win, but also a one-two for the team as Norris crossed the line P2, the first time McLaren had achieved that feat since Canada 2010.

Although the results may not have been as consistent as they were from there, Ricciardo scoring points in only three of the following eight rounds, his performance level on average was now much closer to that of Norris, though the MCL35M was no longer as strong as it had been, now struggling to keep the rival Ferrari SF21 at bay.

P5 at the United States Grand Prix proved to be Ricciardo's next-best highlight of the season, with McLaren principal Andreas Seidl saying it was perhaps an even stronger race weekend than Monza.

With 115 points collected, Ricciardo secured P8 in the Drivers' Championship, but a 45-point final deficit to Norris was not what many had predicted.

Still, with regulation changes sweeping into Formula 1 for 2022, there was hope that the new-style challengers would allow Ricciardo to return to the kind of consistent form that we were used to seeing.

Sadly it did not turn out that way, Ricciardo scoring points only once in the opening seven races, that being a P6 finish at his home race. Norris meanwhile missed out on the points only twice in that period, including a retirement in Miami, while the Brit took to the podium at Imola.

Ricciardo continued to struggle to extract the kind of performance from the MCL36 which Norris was, and after both team and driver had denied suggestions of an early split, it was confirmed in August 2022 that McLaren would terminate Ricciardo's contract as of the end of the season, a year before its expiration. Oscar Piastri was later named as Ricciardo's replacement.

With a P5 in Singapore proving to be Ricciardo's best result of the season, albeit half a minute behind Norris at the chequered flag, he signed off with just 37 points, compared to Norris' tally of 122.

History

Daniel Ricciardo became a member of the Tiger Kart Club in Australia at the age of eight before turning his attention to Formula BMW racing in both Asia and the UK.

Ricciardo switched to Formula Renault racing in 2007 and his first piece of silverware came a year later when clinching the Formula Renault 2.0 WEC title, winning eight of a possible 15 races. He would also finish runner-up in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series.

More title success came his way in 2009 as he reigned supreme in the British Formula 3 Championship with Carlin Motorsport.

Ricciardo then spent the best part of two seasons racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series and, in 2011, was also confirmed as Toro Rosso's test and reserve driver for the season following some successful tests for Red Bull.

That then paved the way for Red Bull to place Ricciardo at Spanish Formula 1 outfit Hispania Racing, replacing Narain Karthikeyan for all of the remaining races of the 2011 season.

Daniel Ricciardo was comfortably in the upper echelons of the highest-earning Formula 1 driver list after making a shock switch from Red Bull to Renault ahead of the 2019 season.

The second season of Ricciardo's two-year contract in 2020 was reported by Forbes to bring in an annual salary of £20million, which made him the third best-paid Formula 1 driver behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, and raking in well over double the amount he was earning at Red Bull.

His switch to McLaren did come with a hefty wage cut though, with Forbes placing him P8 on the 2021 driver salary list, following estimated earnings of around £7.4m.

Fortunately, Ricciardo's personal backers help to cushion the blow, all of which have a nice title to boot.

According to Daniel Ricciardo's official website, his list of personal sponsors are: Optus, AWS, youfoodz, afterpay, Carsales, ST Hugo, GoPro, Beats by Dre, EA Sports, Blue Coast and Thorne.

Save the Children are also listed as Ricciardo's 'Official Charity Partner'.

In terms of properties, Ricciardo, who lives in Monaco during the F1 season, owns a $13million mansion in Los Angeles after purchasing the property in 2018. It boasts five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a pool and a two-car garage.

He has also bought a ranch/farm in his native Western Australia.

Daniel Riccardo has some Italian blood in his veins, which is probably why the links of a move to Ferrari will never fade away.

His father, Giuseppe 'Joe' Ricciardo, was born in Ficarra but relocated to Australia as a child. His wife and Daniel's mother, Grace, hails from Australia but her parents, too, are of Italian descent.

He has a sister called Michelle and is uncle to her two young kids.

Daniel was in a long-term relationship with childhood sweetheart Jemma Boskovich until the pair split in 2016. Ricciardo was later linked with model Jessica Gomes.

However, Ricciardo addressed those rumours and said that was not the case.

He told Herald Sun: "A few of my mates sent me a message saying 'mate, you're on the front page of the paper'.

"I was like 'what for? What have I done this time? What have I done wrong?'

"And they were like 'apparently you're dating a model'. And I was like 'oh gosh'. So I don't know where that came from."

Rumour has it, he is now dating actress Heidi Berger, daughter of former Ferrari F1 driver Gerhard Berger. Told you those Ferrari links always come back.

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