Driver Profile: Daniel Ricciardo

NameDaniel Joseph Ricciardo
Date of Birth1 July 1989
Place of BirthPerth, Western Australia, Australia
Car Number3
First Entry2011 British Grand Prix
First Win2014 Canadian Grand Prix

Biography of F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo

Nicknamed “The Honey Badger” because his aggressive driving style contrasts his relaxed demeanour, Ricciardo’s career in motorsport began at the age of nine.

That’s when Ricciardo joined the Tiger Kart Club, before going on to compete in the Western Australian Formula Ford and the national Formula Ford series in 2005.

Ricciardo’s first taste in an open-wheel series was in 2008, when he made his Formula 3 debut for SG Formula’s Formula 3 Euro Series team at Nurburgring. He moved to the British Formula 3 Championship the following year, winning the title for Carlin, before making the jump to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for Tech 1 in the 2010 season.

The Australian was in the mix to win the title, but a spectacular crash at Silverstone dented those hopes, as he ended the year two points back of champion Mikhail Aleshin. Ricciardo returned to the series in 2011, this time with ISR Racing, however his championship bid ended prematurely, as a move to F1 beckoned.

HRT hand Ricciardo F1 opportunity

Having tested an F1 car for Red Bull in December 2009, Ricciardo served as the team’s, and Toro Rosso’s, test and reserve driver alongside Brendon Hartley. He remained in that role with Toro Rosso in 2011, however it was HRT who gave him his first F1 seat.

Replacing Narain Karthikeyan for the remainder of the season, except the Indian Grand Prix, Ricciardo made his debut for the team at the 2011 British Grand Prix. In the end, Ricciardo took part in the Indian Grand Prix, with teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi making way for Karthikeyan after Red Bull paid the Spanish team to do so.

After ending the season pointless with HRT, Ricciardo moved to Toro Rosso for the 2012 season. His first two World Championship points came at his home race in Australia, thanks in part to a late pass on teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. The result helped him end the season with 10 points, six fewer than his French teammate.

The duo remained with the team in 2013, with Ricciardo outscoring Vergne 20 to 13 at season’s end. The result, along with Ricciardo’s dominance over his teammate in qualifying over the two season’s, helped the Australian land the coveted second seat at Red Bull the following year.

Ricciardo takes over from Webber at Red Bull

With Mark Webber retiring from F1, Ricciardo teamed up with Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull for the 2014 season.

The Australian immediately turned heads at the season-opening race in Melbourne, qualifying in second behind Lewis Hamilton. He finished runner-up to Nico Rosberg in the race, only to be disqualified because his car was ruled to have exceeded the mandated hourly fuel flow rate limit. Although Red Bull filed an appeal, it was later rejected by the International Court of Appeal.

The result didn’t derail Ricciardo’s season, as he picked up back-to-back third place finishes in Spain and Monaco, before becoming the fourth Australian to win a Grand Prix after taking the chequered flag in Canada.

A second victory came in Hungary after overtaking Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton with less than four laps remaining, and he made it back-to-back victories by winning in Belgium. Ricciardo ended the year as the only non-Mercedes driver to have won a Grand Prix in 2014, and he ended the year third in the standings, well clear of Vettel in the standings. His performance saw him win the Laureus Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year, while Vettel left the team in favour of a move to Ferrari.

Down year, return to form with Red Bull

Unfortunately for Ricciardo, his debut campaign for Red Bull proved to be his best. The team fell behind Ferrari and Williams in 2015, as their underpowered Renault power unit held them back. The Australian managed just two podium finishes, Hungary and Singapore, and despite out-qualifying new teammate Daniil Kvyat 14-5, he ended the season on 92 points, three points back of the Russian.

Red Bull and Ricciardo were much more competitive in 2016, with the Australian taking pole at the Monaco Grand Prix. However, despite leading the early stages of the race, a long pitstop derailed his hopes of taking the chequered flag, and he had to settle for second behind Hamilton.

Ricciardo debuted the “shoey”after finishing second in Germany, a celebration that saw him drink champagne out of his shoe. He repeated it again after another second-place finish in Belgium, even persuading podium interviewer Mark Webber to join in on the festivities.

An engine failure for Hamilton in Malaysia opened the door for Ricciardo to take his first win of the season, while a podium finish in Mexico secured him third in the standings.

Red Bull reliability issues

Ricciardo’s 2017 season got off on the wrong foot, qualifying in 10th after crashing into the tyre barrier during Q3 for the opening race in Australia. A gearbox change resulted in a five-place grid penalty, while a gearbox sensor issue forced him to start the race two laps down, before retiring after 25 laps.

After retiring in Russia, things turned around in Spain, as Ricciardo registered three consecutive third-place finishes. Despite starting the Azerbaijan Grand Prix down in 10th, and then falling as far back as 17th, Ricciardo battled back to take his fifth career win.

It proved to be his only win of the season, as reliability issues prevented him from challenging the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari on a regular basis. Ricciardo even missed out on fourth in the standings, as retirements in three of the final four races handed the spot to Kimi Raikkonen.

Verstappen leapfrogs Ricciardo

After starting the 2018 season with a fourth-place finish in Australia and a retirement in Bahrain, Ricciardo took a commanding victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, finishing nine seconds clear of Raikkonen despite starting down in sixth.

Disaster struck for the Australian in Azerbaijan, as he crashed into the back of Verstappen’s car in Azerbaijan while battling for fourth, an incident that saw both Red Bull cars retire.

Ricciardo made up for his 2016 disappointment at Monaco by topping all three practice sessions heading into Sunday’s race. Starting from pole, the Australian took his first career win from first on the grid by finishing ahead of Vettel despite managing a MGU-K power output issue throughout the race.

It proved to be Ricciardo final win and podium with Red Bull, as he ended the year with eight retirements, the joint most on the grid. As a result, he had to settle for sixth in the final standings on 170 points, 79 back of Verstappen.

Move to Renault

The disappointing second half of 2018 pushed Ricciardo to join Renault on a two-year contract, however his time with the French outfit got off to a rocky start.

Ricciardo retired from the opening two races before scoring his first points finish with his new team in China thanks to a seventh-place finish. A third retirement followed in Azerbaijan when Ricciardo reversed into Kvyat after both cars had stopped after an overtaking attempt by the Australian.

A season-best fourth in Italy was a rare highlight in what was an up and down season, while a sixth in Japan was later stripped after it was deemed Renault had used illegal driver aids.

In the end, Ricciardo ended his first season with Renault in a disappointing ninth place, though he did finish well ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg.

Improved form at Renault

Ricciardo’s second season with Renault yielded better results despite retiring from the opening race in Austria. It proved to be his lone retirement of the season, as he finished the remainder of the races while also finishing in the points at the final 11 events.

After missing out on a podium in Britain by just 1.2 seconds, Ricciardo scored his first podium for Renault by finishing third at the Eifel Grand Prix. A second podium at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix helped him end the year fifth in the standings on 119 points, just six behind Sergio Perez for fourth.

Departure for McLaren

Despite an improved second season with Renault, Ricciardo opted to leave and join McLaren, replacing Carlos Sainz.

He started the year by qualifying sixth in Bahrain, however early damage, and the resulting damage, after being hit by Pierre Gasly resulted in a seventh-place finish. While teammate Lando Norris was scoring podium finishes in Emilia Romagna and Monaco, Ricciardo struggled to get the most out of the MCL35M.

A particular low came in Portugal, when Ricciardo qualified 16th after failing to make it out of Q1, though he recovered on raceday to finish ninth. Nevertheless, the Australian regularly finished behind Norris early in the season, the Spanish Grand Prix being a rare exception.

His first top-five finish for McLaren came at the British Grand Prix, while he was classified fourth at the rain-shortened Belgian Grand Prix thanks to a strong showing in qualifying.

The high point of the season came at the Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo qualifying fifth, just six thousands of a second behind Norris. However a strong showing during Saturday’s sprint qualifying, in which Ricciardo passed two cars to finish third, along with Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty, meant he started Sunday’s Grand Prix on the front row.

After getting the better of Verstappen on the opening lap, and keeping his cool after a Safety Car restart, Ricciardo crossed the line ahead of Norris to claim his first victory for McLaren. It was also the team’s first win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, and their first one-two finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

However, from there, Ricciardo managed just three points finishes from the final eight races. As a result he was forced to settl for eighth in the standings on 115 points, 45 back of Norris.