There are two types of Formula 1 drivers: 1. A PR’s nightmare 2. A PR’s sweetheart
PR’s nightmares are the ones who don’t hold anything back. From using expletives during the podium interviews to asking the journalists to ‘buzz off’, they’re as hardcore as they come. The other end of the spectrum belongs to the PR’s sweethearts who’re completely polished and measured in their words and the media simply can’t get enough of them. However, there’s a third type who ain’t polished or trained for ‘good press’ but their genuineness and calm demeanor have got the people going gaga over them. Daniel Ricciardo belongs to this third breed. If there’s one driver you can rely on for making your day with his bright smile, it’s Red Bull Racing’s spearhead – Daniel Ricciardo. But don’t mistake Mr. Nice Guy to be a slouch on the track. Behind the wheel, he is as fast as anyone else on the grid. His raw pace at Toro Rosso was the reason why he was promoted to the sister-team Red Bull Racing. And he didn’t waste any time in proving his worth by scoring as many as three victories in 2014.
With the departure of the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, the 25-year-old has now inherited the role of being the senior driver in the team. We caught up with the Honey Badger to know about his dream job.
Do you have a pre-race ritual?
Not really. I go through basic stretching and other warm-up routines, and the music gets heavier and louder the closer I get to a race, but I don’t have any superstitions or anything.
Out of all the 20 tracks this season, which one are you most excited to race at?
Of all time, I would say, Macao; and on the current calendar, I would say, Canada. I‘ve always really enjoyed Montreal and not only because it was my first win but the very first time I did my lap there I had a smile on my face.
Speaking of which, even in the tensest scenario, you’re always happy and smiling. What’s your secret?
I’m living the dream, at least my dream – and enjoying it!
How do you unwind after a race weekend?
Depends! Probably riding bikes with friends – mountain biking or dirt bike riding, just getting away into the bush, just getting away from any noise or traffic, just being out in the open. I definitely like going to hot places – whether there’s a beach somewhere, or out in the forest, or some sanddune riding, but definitely a warm climate, just wearing t-shirt and shorts is definitely my way to unwind.
Who do you think will be your strongest opponent(s) this season?
Mercedes have set the pace in testing and during the Melbourne race but I think Williams looked pretty good in testing. I think Ferrari also have shown some signs of progress compared to last year which also transferred to the race in Australia.
Who are you best mates on the paddock?
Probably, my trainer, Stu.
What you’ve done, no other driver in the history of F1 has done it: Drove an F1 car down Rajpath – a stone’s throw away from the parliament house of the world’s largest democracy – in Delhi. How was it?
Working with the showcar team allows us to do some extraordinary things around the world in countries where we wouldn’t normally get to take F1. I feel privileged to have driven the car down the Rajpath – it’s something that not many can claim to have done!
If you could add a grand prix to the calendar, where would you want to have it?
With the amount of races, honestly I would like to do more, but then that wouldn’t leave time for all the off-track stuff like sponsor commitments and such. If we could do everything at the race track then 30 races a year would be awesome and then still start in March and end in October to have a proper off-season. It’s very unrealistic and sounds hectic, but it would be very cool. I’d love to see Macao on the calendar and Brands Hatch GP. That would be really great. Bathurst would be cool as well.
We’re not sure whether Formula 1 will expand to accomodate 30 race or not, but we certianly hope that some day, Indian GP finds a place on the F1 calendar, once again. And here’s wishing Ricciardo all the very best for rest of the season.