Daniel Ricciardo

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Full Name
Daniel Ricciardo
Place of Birth
CountryAustralia Australia

About Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo will lead the rebranded Visa Cash App RB team into their new era in 2024. 

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Full Biography

Daniel Ricciardo will lead the rebranded Visa Cash App RB team into their new era in 2024. 

Daniel Ricciardo F1 Career (2011 - Present)

Fresh from his success in Formula Renault 3.5, Ricciardo began a busy 2011 season combining racing with Friday Free Practice sessions with Toro Rosso, where he regularly impressed relative to race drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.

Though always expected to get his F1 shot in 2012 with Toro Rosso, Ricciardo instead made a surprise debut with Hispania during Round 9 of the season at the British Grand Prix after Red Bull ‘loaned’ him to replace Narain Karthikeyan for the remainder of the season.

One of the three new entries that joined the fray in 2010 (together with Lotus and Virgin/Manor), while the Spanish flagged car was considered to the slowest on a grid of 13 teams, Ricciardo grasped the opportunity to impress with what he had and by the end of the year had the regular measure of Vitantonio Liuzzi.

With Red Bull agonising over whether to promote one or both of Ricciardo and fellow Red Bull Junior starlet Jean-Eric Vergne, it was decided both would get to join the sister Scuderia Toro Rosso outfit for 2012, replacing Buemi and Alguersuari, setting up a fascinating premise between two drivers clearly primed for a plum spot at Red Bull Racing in future.

Though Ricciardo realised a lifelong ambition on his Toro Rosso debut by scoring in his home Australian Grand Prix - the opening round of the year - with a run to ninth having also cracked Q3 for the first time, it was Vergne that largely had the edge in terms of race results over the course of the year.

However, while Vergne scored 16 points to Ricciardo’s ten and scored the team’s best result of the year with an eighth, it was the Aussie that dominated his team-mate over a single lap, out-qualifying the Frenchman 16 to 5, peaking with a sixth place start in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

In the final season for the V8 architecture, Ricciardo was once more paired with Vergne at Toro Rosso with their bubbling rivalry taking on fresh impetus when it was confirmed mid-season Mark Webber would retire, opening up a berth at Red Bull Racing for 2014.

Yet again Ricciardo and Vergne were evenly matched in a car that was only mid-field at best, but this time it was the Australian getting the better of his team-mate and rival with seven trips to the top ten, peaking with a seventh place finish in China and Italy.

While Vergne achieved the best result of Toro Rosso’s season with a sixth place in Canada, he’d fall seven points shy of Ricciardo’s total (20 vs 13), while the Australian was again comfortably the quicker of the pair over a single lap (15 v 5), which included cracking Q3 on eight occasions, including a top five start in the British Grand Prix.

It was this Saturday strength over Vergane - which saw a qualifying disparity of 31 to 10 over two seasons - that ultimately told when Red Bull announced it would choose Ricciardo to replace countryman Webber in the ‘A-Team’ alongside four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. 

Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2015]
Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2015]

Coming up alongside Vettel, so dominant in the Red Bull in the final four years of the V8 era, Ricciardo faced an immense challenge in 2014 to both meet the pressures of having a record-breaking compatriot in a team now very used to winning.

However, with engine supplier Renault failing to grasp the complexities of the V6 Hybrid era as quickly as rivals Mercedes, Red Bull found itself playing catch up from the start. Nevertheless, while Red Bull scrambled around for answers, Ricciardo swiftly found his groove in the RB11 and instantly had the measure of a struggling Vettel, even if a disqualification from second place on home soil in Australia scuppered his fairytale team debut.

While Vettel proved a rarity on the podium, Ricciardo became a regular, breaking his duck at the Spanish Grand Prix with a run to third, which was promptly followed with another in Monaco.

A popular maiden victory followed during Round 7 at the Canadian Grand Prix, where despite Renault’s struggle to keep up with Mercedes’ engine left Red Bull on the back foot, over-exertion on the cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg around the power-hungry Gilles Villeneuve Circuit allowed Ricciardo - who only passed Sergio Perez for second with four laps to go - to snatch the lead on the penultimate revolution.

Growing in confidence, Ricciardo was on the podium again at Silverstone before reeling off a pair of astute victories on the trot in the Hungarian Grand Prix - where he demonstrated superb car control to slice his way to the front in slippery conditions - and the Belgian Grand Prix after the dominant Mercedes pair damaged their cars with contact.

Two more podiums followed allowing Ricciardo to comfortably wrap up third in the drivers’ standings, some 52 points clear of fourth place Valtteri Bottas and 71 points ahead of an out-of-favour Vettel, who by this stage had already confirmed he would be bound for Ferrari for 2015.

Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2015]
Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2015]

Promoted to team leader status, Ricciardo welcomed Toro Rosso graduate Daniil Kvyat alongside him for the 2015 F1 World Championship season, who would prove a solid match for the Australian in a year defined by ongoing issues with the Renault power unit. 

With Williams and Ferrari developing a superior machine, while the RB11 showcased the chassis’ evident abilities by proving competitive at high downforces venues as Monaco, the Hungaroring and the Marina Bay Circuit, high-speed venues as the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, Silverstone, Monza and Austin betrayed a lack of straight line performance and wavering reliability that in turn led to numerous grid penalties for component changes. 

As such, while Ricciardo was largely more competitive than Kvyat, he suffered the lion’s share of the issues, leaving him behind the Russian in the overall classification, ending up eighth, three points behind the sophomore racer. 

Despite this, Ricciardo was the only Red Bull on the podium in 2015, taking a third in Hungary and second in Singapore.

Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2016]
Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2016]

A step forward by Renault with its power unit - now badged TAG-Heuer - set Ricciardo up for a more competitive turn in 2016, with Red Bull finding itself in the mix with Ferrari and at times Mercedes for much of the year.

Scoring in all but a single race - an 11th in Russia - Ricciardo collected a fourth career victory in Malaysia as part of a Red Bull 1-2, the legacy of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes dramatically expiring shortly before the end. 

Though fortuitous in circumstance, the win came amid a strong run of form for Ricciardo during which he stepped on the podium in seven of the latter 11 races. 

However, despite fInishing third in the standings, the headlines betrayed a year of other frustrations, most keenly a painful lost victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, a race Ricciardo dominated from an exceptional maiden pole position until Red Bull fluffed his pit-stop to put him behind Hamilton when he rejoined the circuit. Despite applying immense pressure on the Briton, Ricciardo couldn’t find a way through, forcing him to settle for second. 

He was also wary of the feverish attention surrounding new teenage team-mate Max Verstappen, who was promoted in place of Kvyat from Round 5 onwards in what was only his 25th GP start. 

With the young Dutchman going on to sensationally win on his Red Bull debut - a race Ricciardo could have won but for a strategic error a week before his Monaco fracas - while the more experienced driver still had the measure of the upstart for the most part, the closing gap between them was demonstrated by a tense battle between the pair in Sepang that was only decided in the Aussie’s favour under team orders when Hamilton retired. 

Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing [2016]
Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing [2016]

With Red Bull’s progress stalling again over the winter, Ricciardo couldn’t live with the Hamilton (Mercedes) or ex-team-mate Vettel (Ferrari) but showcased his enduring consistency to begin making podium headway early on, reeling off five-in-a-row between Round 4 and 9, a run that included a surprise win in a chaotic, incident-filled Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Famously passingle three cars at once to move into podium contention, Ricciardo then inherited the lead when Hamilton was black/orange flagged and Vettel penalised for clashing with the former under the safety car.

Four more podiums followed as Ricciardo saw off the challenge posed by Verstappen on paper en route to fifth overall, even if the Dutchman successfully put a troubled first-half of the year behind him to exceed his team-mate’s winning record with two late season successes in Malaysia and Mexico.

Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2018]
Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing [2018]

With Ricciardo sensing a shift in priority from Red Bull towards Verstappen - who was making friends and enemies with his honest appraisals and aggressive on-track conduct - the inter-team battle between the two drivers marked one of the attention-grabbing stories of the 2018 F1 campaign.

Driving a car that while competitive was once again hampered by frustrating technical issues - which led to more restrictive grid penalties later in the year as PU component quotas were exceeded - Ricciardo battled on to claim two satisfying victories in the opening six events in China and Monaco.

Making the most of a savvy strategy around safety car periods to pick off Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton to notch up his sixth career F1 victory in China, he then righted the wrongs of 2016 with a superior display in Monaco, topping all three practice sessions, qualifying on pole position and claiming a lights-to-flag victory.

However, the simmering rivalry with Verstappen boiled over in spectacular circumstances during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when Ricciardo - under pressure from his team-mate - changed lines to defend, but instead caught the close-following Verstappen unawares leading to a damaging high-speed clash and some choice words expressed in its wake.

Verstappen went on to shrug off the issues better to rack up a number of podiums thereafter, unlike Ricciardo who didn’t bother the top three again after his Monaco success despite claiming a third career pole in Mexico.

That, coupled with a dismal finishing record - which featured 8 DNFs in 21 races - prompted Ricciardo to look elsewhere for the following season, catching Red Bull unawares by announcing a deal with Renault for the 2019 F1 season despite his vocal grievances regarding the firm’s power unit in the back of the RB14.

Daniel Ricciardo - Renault [2019]
Daniel Ricciardo - Renault [2019]

As one of the big moves over the winter, Ricciardo’s progress in the Renault was keenly followed, particularly relative to Red Bull which had just swapped out its power unit for the relatively unproven Honda V6.

With Renault actively shifting its focus from supplying the independent but more competitive Red Bull Racing team in favour of plunging resources into its factory effort, while Ricciardo’s signing was seen as a signal of intent, progress was meagre and the French outfit found itself bogged down in a busy mid-field with little to choose between sixth to 17th on the timesheets.

To its credit, Ricciardo was a sharp weapon in Renault’s moderate armoury and was able to maximise the R.S.19 when necessary, notably at higher-speed events such as the Canadian Grand Prix, where he finished sixth from fourth on the grid, and then claimed his and the team’s best result of fourth in the Italian Grand Prix.

Despite the car’s fluctuating form - particularly at high downforce venues - Ricciardo was judged to have proven his worth by comprehensively defeating team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by finishing ninth overall with 54 points, compared with his German counterpart in 14th on 37 points. 

Daniel Ricciardo - Renault [2020]
Daniel Ricciardo - Renault [2020]

Evidently unhappy Renault hadn’t met its promise of providing him with a more competitive car, it was announced Ricciardo would make the surprise move to McLaren for the 2021 season, before the delayed 2020 F1 season had gotten underway.

Though the May 2020 deal didn’t necessarily come ‘early’ in the context of the ‘silly season’, Renault was still unhappy he had chosen to defect before starting his second season with Renault, arguing he hadn’t given the French outfit enough time to prove itself to him.

Whether Ricciardo made the right decision will be seen in 2021 because while McLaren began 2020 with the superior car, by the close of the year it was Renault - in the Australian’s hands at least - that had the edge in the two cars powered by the same power unit.

Indeed, Renault enjoyed arguably the biggest growth in performance as the truncated season progressed and by mid-season Ricciardo was regularly finishing ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes and Red Bull. Finally breaking his Renault podium duck at the Nurburgring - also the team’s first rostrum as a factory team since 2011 - he promptly followed it up with another at Imola.

Though indifferent late season results saw him surrender fourth overall to a fast-finishing Sergio Perez, fifth still marked a sizeable improvement for the Australian that placed him ahead of both McLaren drivers, while Renault was only 21 points shy of a much-desired third in the constructors’ standings. 

Much was expected of Ricciardo's switch to McLaren as he was expected to be its leader in 2021. 

His inability to adapt to the McLaren was surprising. While he struggled, teammate Norris flourished and made him look seemingly average. However, in typical Ricciardo-fashion, when there was an opportunity to win, he took it at Monza ahead of his teammate. 

If Ricciardo can get back to his form of 2014 to 2020 then McLaren has a very tasty line up for F1's new era.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren MCL35M.
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren MCL35M.
© xpbimages.com

Things didn't get better for Ricciardo in 2022 as he struggled immensely with the new generation of cars.

Ricciardo finished 85 points behind teammate Norris in the final standings, but McLaren's decision to drop him in favour of fellow Australian Oscar Piastri was decided well before the climax of the season.

Ricciardo was announced as Red Bull's third driver for the 2023 F1 season after being dropped by McLaren but he secured a shock return to the grid 11 races into the campaign, replacing Nyck de Vries at Red Bull's sister team AlphaTauri. 

The Australian's surprise comeback was cut short, when, in just his second race back, he crashed and suffered a broken hand, an injury which ruled Ricciardo out of five events.

Ricciardo bounced back from the setback in style and in Mexico, produced a standout performance across the weekend. First, he qualified fourth on the grid, outqualifing Perez's Red Bull, before going on to score AlphaTauri's best result of the season with seventh place.

The result helped lift AlphaTauri to eighth place in the constructors' championship after a late season surge.