7 December 2014
F1: Ricciardo ‘more and more excited’ with every race
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo admits that 2014 was his most enjoyable in a race car, with each F1 outing raising him to new heights of excitement.
Daniel Ricciardo has warned his F1 rivals that his motivation will be higher than ever when the 2015 season gets underway.
The Australian defied sceptics by not only overcoming the perceived weight of lining up alongside four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull Racing this season, but overshadowing the German to take the only real fight to Mercedes as the German giant rolled to the title. Ricciardo won three times in all, the only driver apart from Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to stand on the top step of the podium, and eventually finished third in the standings.
Speaking as he received the trophy for his season's work at the FIA Prizegiving ceremony in Qatar, Ricciardo admitted that, rather than feeling the pressure of partnering Vettel as many had expected, 2014 had been nothing but enjoyable.
“I think it's the core of it - if you want to be successful at anything in life, the primary thing is that you have to enjoy it,” he explained, “You have to have fun doing it. It can't be someone else's dream, it's got to be yours. This year I put it down to that.
“I had the most fun I've ever had in a race car and the results came. You look at the big picture [and] be grateful. All my friends back home in Australia would love to have my job so, even on your bad days, you have to look at the big picture and just be grateful for it.”
After making his mark at Red Bull feeder team Toro Rosso without ever having the chance to pull off a shock win as Vettel did at Monza in 2008, Ricciardo stepped into the spotlight as he joined the 'senior' squad this season, winning in Canada, Hungary and Belgium, admitting that each time he hit the track, his enjoyment got bigger.
“It grew - it grew a lot,” he confirmed, flashing his trademark smile, “My love for the sport grew, my love for competition grew this year, knowing [I'd] got a car that can fight for a win or a podium and just race at the front with all these world champions that I looked up to when I was young. That just gives you so much more motivation.
“I'm not kidding you: every race this year, I was more and more excited. Sunday would come and I thought I couldn't get more pumped up for the race but, the following week, I was more [excited] - and more the week after. It just got better and better. I think having that opportunity, knowing that if you have a good weekend, if you do everything you have a chance of standing on the podium that makes it a lot easier.”
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