Daniel Ricciardo is a Formula 1 driver who rose to fame during his time with Red Bull Racing. He wowed fans with his late braking, great overtakes, and exciting driving on the track. Off the track, Daniel Ricciardo’s charismatic personality has also made him a fan favourite. His 1000 Watt smile and playful nature have made him one of the most popular people on the Formula 1 grid. In this post, we will take a brief look at his Formula 1 career. Let’s get started.
Daniel Ricciardo: A Formula 1 Life
Formula 1 Debut
Daniel Ricciardo made his debut behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the Red Bull Racing team at the young driver tests in Jerez over three days. On the last day, Daniel showed the fastest test time, beating everyone else by a second. This made him the only driver to break 1:17. Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner suggested that Ricciardo would replace his 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 teammate Hartley as the F1 team’s test and reserve driver. As a result, Ricciardo and Hartley shared the duties of test drivers for the Red Bull team and their sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso in the 2010 season.
In 2011, after the European Grand Prix, he signed a contract with HRT until the end of the season. In 2012, he joined Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso. His season best finish was seventh.
Red Bull Racing
On September 6th, 2013, Daniel Ricciardo was officially announced as the replacement for outgoing Red Bull driver Mark Webber. He joined Sebastian Vettel on the grid in 2014.
Despite Red Bull’s problems with engine reliability in pre-season tests, already in the first race for the new team the Australian finished 2nd – this would have been his personal best, but after the race, he was disqualified for exceeding the fuel consumption limit. Without this result, his personal best – 4th place – was achieved in Bahrain and repeated in China.
Beating a Four Time World Champion
In Malaysia, he was 4th for a long time, but at the last pit stop his front left wheel was screwed on poorly, which is why he lost a whole lap in the pits. But his troubles didn’t end there. After leaving the pits, his front wing broke. Having visited the pits again, he still left the race shortly before the finish. After the race, he was given a 10-place penalty at the start in Bahrain. Therefore, having qualified 3rd there, ahead of his team-mate, he started 13th, behind his team-mate, but in the race he stopped ahead of Vettel and one step away from the podium. In China, he again finished 4th ahead of Vettel. In Spain and Monaco, he started and finished 3rd. In Canada, starting 6th, at the very end of the race he was able to overtake Nico Rosberg, who had been the leader for a long time, but who had to slow down due to problems with the MGU-K, and thereby won the first race of his career.
At the end of the 2014 season, the Russian Daniil Kvyat became the Australian’s new partner at Red Bull instead of Sebastian Vettel, who had moved to Ferrari.
In his home Grand Prix, Ricciardo finished 6th. In Malaysia, the Australian qualified 4th, but Red Bull’s pace was poor in the race. Result – 10th place. In China, he qualified 7th, but failed the start and finished 9th. In Bahrain, he finished 6th, and his engine burned out right on the finish line, but he managed to cross the line. In Spain, he finished 7th, in Monaco 5th, in Canada 13th, in Austria 10th, and in the UK he retired due to engine problems. The season as a whole wasn’t very successful for Daniel Ricciardo.
In Australia and Bahrain, he finished 4th. In Monaco, Daniel won the pole position for the first time in his career. However, his race was spoiled by the fact that at the pit stop the mechanics forgot to bring new tires – as a result, Ricciardo was stationary at the pit stop for almost a minute, giving the lead to Lewis Hamilton.
In Singapore, he was close to victory, but still lost to Rosberg by 4 tenths of a second. And in the next race, held in Malaysia, he won after Hamilton’s engine burned out.
In Azerbaijan, Ricciardo started 10th and won, while in the worst part of the race he was only 17th – this was due to an early pit stop. The rest of the season was forgettable.
In China, he showed a real master class in overtaking and won the sixth victory in his career with the fastest lap of the race. In Azerbaijan, an incident occurred with his partner Max Verstappen – on the straight, Daniel was going to pass Max, but the Dutchman moved twice under braking and as a result, Ricciardo, who did not expect such a maneuver from his partner, rammed into him. Both drivers received warnings.
After figuring out that Red Bull were focused on building their future with the generationally talented Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo decided to leave Red Bull Racing and sign with Renault.
After the announcement of the contract with Renault, Daniel Ricciardo’s results fell. He only finished half of the races he entered and didn’t really fight for a podium in any race.
The Italian Grand Prix was the best result of the season where he finished 4th and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg finished 5th. That was the best result for the Renault team as well.
During the pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ricciardo signed a contract with a new team. On May 14, 2020, it became known that the Australian would start the 2021 season at McLaren. In the first Grand Prix of the updated calendar, Ricciardo made it to the final part of qualifying but quickly retired in the race. Fortunately for him, this retirement was the only one of the season. A series of points finishes followed: 8th places in Styria and Hungary, 6th in Italy and 5th in Russia, while in Great Britain and Tuscany, he managed to reach 4th place in the race. He only missed out on points during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix.
At the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, he again finished fourth, both in qualifying and in the race. In addition to this, Ricciardo got an extra point for the fastest lap of the race – the first for Renault in 10 years. The Australian’s teammate Esteban Ocon finished next, in 5th place. This result was Renault’s best since returning to Formula 1, and the drivers again repeated the result of the 2019 Italian Grand Prix. At the Eifel Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo finally made it back to the podium, Renault’s first since returning to the championship and his first since winning Monaco 2018.
Having also achieved third place in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, fastest lap inAbu Dhabi, and having finished in the points in all remaining races of the season, Ricciardo ended the season in fifth place, scoring 119 points, and taking two podiums.
After two years at Renault, Daniel Ricciardo moved to McLaren, replacing Carlos Sainz, who signed a multi-year contract with Ferrari. Ricciardo became Lando Norris’ teammate.
Daniel Ricciardo finished the season in 8th place in the drivers’ standings, with 115 points and one victory at the Italian Grand Prix.
In August 2022, McLaren and Ricciardo terminated their contract by mutual consent and Daniel Ricciardo took a sabbatical from racing at the end of the season.
Having lost his place at McLaren, Ricciardo could not find a place as the main driver in any of the teams, so he signed a contract as a reserve driver with the Red Bull team. In the middle of the season, after the British Grand Prix, Nyck de Vries was fired from the Scuderia Alpha Tauri team due to unsatisfactory results, and Ricciardo was invited to take his place. However, Daniel Ricciardo suffered a broken hand during the Dutch Grand Prix, and his seat was taken by Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson.
Lawson has performed very well since taking Ricciardo’s seat and it will be tough for Daniel Ricciardo to just jump back into the car once his hand heals.