Daniel Ricciardo maybe isn’t the best Australian racing driver, but definitely is the most popular and best-known all over the world. Currently he competes in the Formula One World Championship.
He made an F1 debut in 2011 with HRT F1 Team, then spent two seasons with Scuderia Toro Rosso and joined Red Bull Racing in 2014. After five seasons with Red Bull, he joined Renault for the 2019 F1 season.
Earlier in a career, Ricciardo was Formula Renault 3.5 Series vice-champion in 2010, British F3 champion in 2009 and Formula Renault 2.0 WEC champion in 2008.
Daniel Joseph Ricciardo was born in July 1989 in Perth, Western Australia, to the family of Italian origin. When he was nine years old, Ricciardo started kart racing.
After ten years, Daniel stepped into Formula Ford. He was driving old cars that were not in good condition, so the results were quite poor, but his talent wasn’t unnoticed and Ricciardo earned in 2006 a scholarship with Eurasia Motorsport to compete in the Formula BMW Asian Championship. With proper backing and a good car, Ricciardo won two races before he took 3rd place in the final classification, 59 points behind the champion Earl Bamber.
Move to Europe
In 2007, Ricciardo entered Italian Formula Renault Championship in which he took the 6th position, failing to win any of 14 races or to earn a podium finish. The same year he also drove four races of European Formula Renault Championship but he wasn't able to collect a single point.
Things improved in 2008 when Ricciardo focused at two racing series. He became Formula Renault 2.0 WEC champion after he has won 8 out of 15 races, beating some well-known names like Roberto Merhi or Jean-Eric Vergne. At the Euro Cup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship, he was the vice-champion, losing to Valtteri Bottas by only three points.
Winning the British Formula 3 title
For the season of 2009, Daniel Ricciardo switched to British Formula 3 Championship as a driver of Carlin Motorsport and became an outright champion. Australian was really impressive as he won 7 out of 20 races and had other 6 podiums, finishing the season with an advantage of 87 points.
The progress continued the following year in which Ricciardo competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 World Series, driving for Tech 1 Racing. Daniel won four races and finished in Top 3 in other four races, but that still wasn’t enough for the title. He finished the season as a runner-up, just two points behind the champion Mikhail Aleshin.
Formula 1 debut with Hispania Racing
The same year Ricciardo was chosen by Red Bull Racing to drive at the end-of-season in Abu Dhabi. After his amazing performance he was named reserve driver for Toro Rosso Formula 1 team for 2011. However, he remained in Formula Renault 3.5 Series to defend his crown but the attempt was unsuccessful.
What was more important is the fact that Ricciardo debuted at the Formula 1 Grand Prix race as a driver of Hispania Racing Team. Daniel was called to replace Narain Karthikeyan in the mid-season. Australian competed in 11 races that year and earned valuable experience for the upcoming years.
Picking up the experience with Toro Rosso
Experience picked in the previous season was very useful in 2012. Ricciardo was named as one of Toro Rosso drivers and managed to score in the first race, at his home in Australia where he finished 9th. Later in the first half of the season, Ricciardo couldn’t score any points but in the second half, Ricciardo scored five more times. With 10 points on his account, he finished 18th overall.
In 2012, Toro Rosso announced that he will resign Ricciardo for the 2013 season. Daniel once again confirmed his potential after he has collected 20 points in seven races and moved up to the 14th position in the Drivers’ championship. His best result that year was 7th place at the Chinese and at the Italian Grand Prix.
Move to Red Bull Racing and maiden win at Canadian Grand Prix
For the 2014 campaign, Ricciardo was promoted to Red Bull Racing F1 Team. He arrived as a substitute for his compatriot Mark Webber and was teamed with the reigning World champion Sebastian Vettel. That promotion was the real boost for the Australian who had his best season so far. In the opening race in Australia, Ricciardo finished 2nd but later was disqualified. That was followed by retirement in Malaysia, but after that race, Ricciardo scored on a regular basis, missing it only once in the penultimate race in Brazil.
He also won three races in 2014. His maiden Formula 1 triumph arrived at the Canadian Grand Prix and later Daniel managed to score two consecutive triumphs, in Hungary and Belgium. He also has other four 3rd place finishes. With 238 points, Ricciardo finished the season in third place, behind two inviolable Mercedes’ and in front of his teammate Vettel.
No wins in 2015, third in the world again in 2016
After German left Red Bull at the end of the season, Ricciardo was promoted to the first Red Bull driver for the 2015 campaign. Unfortunately, the car wasn’t as good as in previous season. However, Ricciardo did relatively good but, interestingly, finished the season in 8th place, behind his new teammate Daniil Kvyat. The highlights of the year were 2nd place in Singapore and 3rd place at Hungaroring.
For the season of 2016, Ricciardo decided to stay with Red Bull even though there were some rumors that he will move to Ferrari. In another year of Mercedes' absolute domination, Daniel was the best of the rest as he finished 3rd in the Championship. He won the race in Malaysia and had seven other podiums.
Moving to Renault in 2019
He scored again one victory in 2017, triumphing at Azerbaijan Grand Prix, finishing fifth in the championship points. In 2018, Daniel has the best start of the season so far, scoring two wins (China, Monaco) in the first six races. But, the rest of the season was marked by many retirements and he finished sixth in the points.
It was a time for change and he joined Renault for the 2019 Formula 1 season. His best result was the fourth place in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and he finished ninth in the final drivers' standings.
Daniel, who has a nickname ’Honey Badger’, is a huge fan of Australian Football League team West Coast Eagles and club’s No.1 ticket holder.