By many considered the driver of the year of 2014, Daniel Ricciardo surprised us all by his furious speed and edge-of-the-seat overtaking manoeuvres once he got behind the wheel of the RedBull. He sports the Honey Badger on his helmet design because “If someone steps on this little guy’s turf, if someone upsets him… mate, he’s the most fearless, most vicious creature in all the Animal Kingdom”.
So who exactly is Daniel Ricciardo?
He is one happy dude. One of the first things that made him stand out among the hard-faced super-competitive drivers deep in concentration preparing for the race was his smile. He is always smiling. Even if things aren’t going his way, he is smiling from ear to ear. It’s infectious. It makes everyone on the grid smile more and frankly, it makes me smile at home in front of the TV.
He outperformed Vettel in his first RedBull season. The racing rascal from Down Under managed to outperform the reigning World Champion in the same car. Consistently. While some might say that this proves Vettel isn’t very good and that winning four years on the trot was purely down to the car, I am personally of the opinion that it proves Ricciardo is the real deal. He clearly thrives under pressure and the added responsibility of making it to a top team seems to have transformed him from a decent Toro Rosso-talent to a top-class potential World Champion contender.
No one can out-break him on the grid. Nope, it’s not a spelling mistake. While Ricciardo’s braking skills are certainly up to the high F1 standard, he is also a pretty decent break dancer. Surprised? Well it actually makes great sense as break dancing requires some serious core strength, just like F1 racing. It’s also a pretty cool party trick and might be the origin of his nickname “Disco Dan”. No, I haven’t made that up.
He has a big bum. Or “wide hips” as I myself prefer to say. During his seat fitting in preparation for this 2014 RedBull debut, his backside was too big to fit into the ultra-slim chassis designed by Adrian Newey, and they had to widen it slightly to fit the Aussies hind quarters comfortably.
He is faster than Hamilton. While Ricciardo has yet to out-perform Lewis Hamilton outright on the F1 track, he has managed to do so in a “Reasonably Priced Car” on the popular BBC TV show, Top Gear. The Stig was not happy.