Daniel Ricciardo

Full Name: 
Daniel Ricciardo
Birth Date: 
30 June, 1989
Birth Place: 
Driver Status: 

Daniel Ricciardo Biography

Australia had waited a long time for a successor to Alan Jones by the time Mark Webber secured his place in F1 but, like buses, the country now has two drivers to cheer following the rapid ascent of Daniel Ricciardo to the top flight.

 Like the majority of today's F1 stars, Ricciardo began karting at a young age, hitting the track after his ninth birthday and learning his trade for the next six years, until he was old enough to make the jump to cars.

 Driving a vintage Van Diemen, he still did enough to finish eighth in the Western Australia state Formula Ford standings in 2005, although ann outing on the national stage in a slightly younger car proved just how great the step between the two series was going to be.

 What could have been a potential stumbling blovk to his dreams of reaching F1 was overcome when Ricciardo won a scholarship to contest the Formula BMW Asia series with Eurasia Motorsport. He grasped the opportunity with both hands, claiming two race wins, both at the Bira circuit in Thailand, and finishing third in the championship. He also made his first visit to the UK, taking up the chance to contest a round of the national FBMW series with Motaworld Racing, and ended the year by joining Fortec Motorsport for the FBMW World Finals, where he finished fifth overall.

 Again, feeling that it was time move up, Ricciardo swapped BMW for Renault, joining RP Motorsport for the Italian national series and a handful of Eurocup rounds, finishing seventh overall in the former as he learned the ropes. He then switched to SG Formula for a second season in the category, contesting the Eurocup and Western European championships in 2009. The move proved to be a successful one, as Ricciardo ran out as WEC champion, claiming nine race wins in 15 races, and finished second overall, by just three points in the Eurocup.

 That was enough to ensure the Australian was able to move up to F3 full-timeeand, now backed by Red Bull, he slipped seamlesly into the crack Carlin Motorsport line-up. Despite his inexperience at that level, although he ahd made a one-off Euroseries appearance with SG the previous year, he defied his rookie status by setting the tone for the year with three wins in the first four races. Although he failed to appear on the rostrum for a couple of rounds, Snetterton provided a timely boost, and he ended the year with a win in each of the final four double-headers to claim the title with a round to spare.

 With nothing left to prove in F3, another move was on the cards for 2010, and Ricciardo remained with Red Bull to join Tech 1 in opposition to Carlin in the World Series by Renault. Again, he had previous experience of the class, having made a one-off appearance at Portimao in 2009, and that showed as he claimed three podium finishes from the opening five races, including victory on the streets of Monaco. Further wins in Hungary, Germany and Spain gave Ricciardo a shot at the title but, despite entering the final race level on points with Mikhail Aleshin, he was passed by the Carlin driver with a couple of laps to go and confined to second in the standings.

 Despite having been used by both Red Bull F1 teams for testing and promotional runs, there were no vacancies for 2011, and so Ricciardo returned to the World Series, this time with ISR. Forced to miss the opening double-header, he was back on the podium, and winning, within five races, but, despite further second-place finishes, he was never a factor in the championship battle, his attention having had to be divided between the WSbR and F1, where he was constantly being linked to possible openings at Toro Rosso.

 The focus on F1, which has seen Ricciardo running with Toro Rosso during Friday practice, grew in the run-up to the British GP at Silverstone, when it was announced that the Australian was to replace Narain Karthikeyan at struggling HRT. Although there was never going to be a chance of success at the Spanish outfit, Ricciardo used his time behind the wheel wisely, learning his way around a race weekend and pitting himself against former Red Bull driver Tonio Liuzzi in the process.

 By the end of the year, his eleven outings had resulted in a best finish of 18th - in both Hungary and India - and a qualifying record of 4-6 against Liuzzi. He also out-gunned the returning Narain Karthikeyan in India, and returned to Red Bull colours for the 'Young Driver' test in Abu Dhabi.

 Despite rumours suggesting that he could find a seat at STR - or, more fancifully, replace Webber at Red Bull - it was only just before Christmas that Ricciardo learned his fate, with Toro Rosso axing both its drivers in favour of an all-new line-up, reuniting the Australian with former FRenault team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

 The pair headed into the 2012 season as the least experienced line-up on the grid, but pre-season testing suggested that Toro Rosso's STR7 could be a surprise package, potentially opening the door for Ricciardo to move onwards and upwards. The Australian continued to perform solidly, if unspectacularly, although his qualifying effort in Bahrain, where he nailed sixth on the grid, was particularly noteworthy. His race performances weren't bad either, but failed to produce the sort of results that STR enjoyed in 2011.

 Matched from the off by Vergne, Ricciardo trailed in the intra-team battle from round two, despite reaching the points more often. His highest finish was ninth, which he achieved in Melbourne, Spa, Singapore and Korea, but were never enough to warrant consideration as a potential replacement for Webber when his countryman again entered contract negotiations with Red Bull. Ricciardo ended the season 18th overall, his ten-point haul six less than Vergne's, but he will have another crack at the Frenchman as the pair form an unchanged line-up in 2013.

The car was not a regular points contender but during the early part of the season it was Vergne who again had the upper hand. After a poor race in Montreal, Ricciardo vowed to turn his season around and he couldn't have timed it better as at the next race Webber announced he would retire from F1 at the end of the season. Ricciardo proceeded to qualify in fifth place and score points in the race, and five Q3 appearances in six races helped him secure the vacant Red Bull seat for 2014.

Ricciardo thought he had made a dream debut for Red Bull at his home race after securing a third place finish but the Australian was disqualified post-race after fuel irregularities were discovered.

Despite a tricky start to 2014, the Red Bull man failed to finish in the second race in Malaysia, the Australian recovered strongly to finish third in the championship and totally outperformed his four-time World Champion teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Ricciardo was the only non-Mercedes driver to record victories in 2014 with three wins in Canada, Hungary and Belgium. What was equally impressive was the consistency of Ricciardo’s performances in his first season at Red Bull. The Australian scored points in every race he finished and only suffered two retirements all year, plus the disqualification in the opening race, all of which he was powerless against.

With Vettel switching to Ferrari for 2015 and youngster Daniil Kvyat joining Ricciardo at Red Bull, the Australian has been forced into the senior role after just one season at the team. Furthermore, he will be expected to repeat his impressive performances of last season to break the Mercedes dominance.

The Australian was thrust into a senior role after just one season at Red Bull, following Vettel's decision to switch to Ferrari and Daniil Kvyat's promotion. 2015 would prove to be one of frustration for Ricciardo and Red Bull, as the Milton Keynes squad slipped behind both Williams and Ferrari in its efforts to challenge Mercedes for the title. An unreliable car limited Ricciardo to just two podium appearances, and a best result of second place at Singapore, as he ended up being usurped in the standings by his younger teammate.

2016 showed more promise for Red Bull and Ricciardo claimed his first ever pole with a stunning qualifying lap at Monaco, but a pitstop error from his team cost him a shot of victory. However, Ricciardo enjoyed a competitive second half of the season - which included beating new Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix - to finish the year in third.

Red Bull's 2017 challenger, the RB13, was fast but often unreliable, as Ricciardo and Verstappen both found out over the course of the season. Ricciardo took advantage of a crazy race in Baku to win from 10th on the grid - which came in the middle of a run of five straight podiums - but was forced into retirement in three of the final four races of the season as technical gremlins struck on his side of the garage.

The run of DNFs through 2017 proved only to be a taste of things to come in 2018 as Ricciardo was hamstrung by recurring issues with his Red Bull RB14 car. When opportunities arose, Ricciardo grabbed them with both hands, taking an opportunistic win in China and crushing the field en route to a redemptive Monaco victory. But he would not feature on the podium at any other point through the year, instead resigned to retirement on eight occasions, leaving him a distant sixth in the drivers' standings.

The bigger story for Ricciardo in 2018, however, was his call to leave the Red Bull family after a decade. The Australian sent shockwaves through the F1 world by announcing in August he would be joining Renault for the 2019 season, partnering Nico Hulkenberg on a two-year deal.

Ricciardo took the move down the grid in his stride, accepting he would not be able to fight at the front of the pack any longer. But the reality proved even harder than anticipated as Renault struggled to bridge the gap to the 'big three' teams, instead appearing to slip further back into the midfield mire. Ricciardo could only muster a best finish of fourth place at the Italian Grand Prix as Renault took P5 in the constructors' standings.

Things got better for Ricciardo in 2020, but the Aussie had already decided he was going to jump ship and leave Renault for McLaren before racing had even got underway back in May. Ricciardo was one of the standout drivers of F1's midfield as he turned in a brilliant campaign to finish fifth in the drivers' standings and return to the podium (not once but twice) for the first time since leaving Red Bull in 2018. It will be fascinating to see how he gets on alongside new teammate Lando Norris at an improving McLaren.