Written by Georgina Clissold, edited by Tanishka Vashee
Daniel Ricciardo, the loveable cheeky chappy who keeps the grid entertaining and the fans laughing. It’s the honey badger’s 32nd birthday today, and as everyone’s favourite Aussie starts his new chapter at McLaren we’ve decided to look back on the highs and lows of Daniel Ricciardo’s Formula 1 career.
Test and Reserve and Toro Rosso
Eleven years ago, the then 21 year old Ricciardo took to the track in a Formula One car for the first time at the young drivers test for Red Bull in Spain. On the final day of testing the young driver took the fastest lap time by over a second.
As a result of his performance, Red Bull’s Christian Horner promoted Ricciardo to test and reserve duties for both Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso (along with Brendon Hartley).
At the end of 2011 it was confirmed that Ricciardo would drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso alongside Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne.
Often outperforming his teammate, Ricciardo’s time at Toro Rosso was one full of learning and holding out for a promotion to Red Bull, a promotion that came after just two seasons in Formula 1.
In his first race with Red Bull at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, Ricciardo qualified in an impressive second place and completed the race in that position. However Ricciardo was later disqualified after the race, as it was revealed his Red Bull car exceeded the mandated hourly fuel flow rate limit.
Ricciardo’s debut year at Red Bull was impressive to say the least, beating four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the first half of the 2014 season along with often scoring points the Australian finished 3rd in the championship and secured his future at Red Bull.
2016 – The Shoey
Whilst Red Bull’s performance in the 2015 season had been less than perfect, with Ricciardo finishing eight in the championship, the 2016 season saw a much more competitive car and team.
A slew of fantastic qualifying positions saw Ricciardo again often finish in the points and on the podium. At the 2016 German Grand Prix where the Australian finished 2nd he decided on a more ‘unorthodox’ celebration, drinking the podium champagne from his shoe, nicknaming it the ‘shoey’ and thus forever cementing in fans heads that he was the loveable driver they could always rely on.
The Baku Incident
Everyone remembers Baku 2018, the fourth place fight between Ricciardo and his young teammate Max Verstappen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ended in the drivers crashing out together in the latter half of the race. Both drivers blamed each other (even though they laugh about it now) but the incident appeared to cement in Christian Horner’s mind that this could be the beginning of the end for Ricciardo at Red Bull.
Though later in the season Ricciardo had his redemption by winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Aussie announced a move to Renault for the 2019 season.
2020 – The Shoey returns
Ricciardo had trouble adjusting to his new car at Renault during the 2019 season finishing 9th in the championship with only 54 points. However the 2020 season saw a more focused Ricciardo score Renault’s first podium since 2011 and along the way the return of the shoey.
Whilst Ricciardo forgot his shoey on the podium following the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, the Aussie had a second chance at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix where he again finished on the podium, the shoey returned and Sir Lewis Hamilton also took part in the tradition.
2020 also saw the announcement of Ricciardo moving to another new team, which brings us up to date.
A new chapter
Ricciardo signed a multi-deal with McLaren during 2020, a move that has seen him pair with younger teammate Lando Norris. Now a third way through the 2021 season Ricciardo appears to still be getting used to his new team and car.
Whilst the Honey Badger hasn’t had the best start to the season, don’t write him off just yet even with 10 years experience in Formula One, he’s just getting started.
Happy 32nd Birthday Daniel, all of us at Divebomb will never get bored of seeing you race!