Born in July 1st, 1989 in Perth, Australia; Daniel Ricciardo has his earliest memories of Motorsports thanks to his parents: being held by his mom, Grace, at Barbagallo Raceway, while his dad, Joe, drove past racing. “If he would ever take me around the racetrack I loved it,The faster he went the bigger smile I had on my face.”, Daniel recalls.
That passion translated into karting not long after it, at age nine, when he joined Tiger Kart Club and raced in multiple events. “As soon as I was old enough to try a go-kart I was pulling on his shirt and telling him to get me in one. Then I loved it as much as I thought I would.” During his karting days, he won the Australian CIK Championship and the West Australian State Championship. When he was 16, he evolved into single-seaters and raced in the 2005 Western Australian Formula Ford Championship.
The following year he was given a BMW Motorsport scholarship, which allowed Daniel access to a 50.000 US Dollar cash contribution and the benefit of the season-long Education & Coaching programme, giving him the opportunity of leaving Australia to race in a single racing weekend for Formula BMW UK and in Formula BMW Asia, where he began seeing great success, finishing 3rd in the championship.
In 2007, Daniel left BMW to switch to Formula Renault, in both the European and Italian championships focusing on the latter one, in which he finished 7th with 196 points and only one podium. He continued on the likes of Formula Renault for 2008, when he reentered to the European championship, where he was the runner-up behind Valtteri Bottas, plus the newly reformed Western European Cup, obtaining his first European title. That year also saw the debut of Ricciardo as a guest for Formula 3 Euro Series in Nürburgring.
2009 was marked by his indefinite move to the British Formula 3 with Carlin Motorsport, where he became champion on his first season with an astonishing 87-points-lead. He also raced during a single round in Formula Renault 3.5 Series and the Macau Grand Prix without much success. His championship gave him the opportunity to go and test the Red Bull Racing car during the young drivers test at Circuito de Jerez, where he obtained the fastest time of the test. The allowed him to become test and reserve driver for the team and it’s sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2010 F1 season.
His talent and success was clear during 2010, on his first full season at Formula Renault 3.5 Series, where he fought for the championship up until the very last race, loosing by only two points to Mikhail Aleshin. An inside look of this can be seen on the first episode of Red Bull TV’s documentary-series ‘Destination One’, filmed during 2010 and 2011 following Daniel and then Red Bull Junior Team members Jean-Éric Vergne, Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. By the end of the year, he return to represent Red Bull Racing during 2010′s young drivers test, this time on the Yas Marina Circuit, and following this he was confirmed to become Scuderia Toro Rosso’s test and reserve driver for the 2011 season, and to be taking part of first free practice at during race weekends.
He returned to Formula Renault 3.5 Series for 2011, seeking for a gracious comeback until an unexpected but exciting call arrived: On 30 June 2011, a day before his 22 birthday, Daniel Ricciardo was announced as the replacement for Narain Karthikeyan to race for the remaining 11 dates of the 2011 Formula One season with Hispania Racing. During said time, he outperformed his teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi.
For the 2012 season, Daniel moved to Scuderia Toro Rosso, alongside his Formula Renault 3.5 Series teammate and fellow member Red Bull Junior Team, Jean-Éric Vergne. He secured his first ever points on his first home race in Australia, where he finished 9th. He repeated this results in Belgium, Singapore and Korea and two other 10th places in Japan and Abu Dhabi, finishing 18 in the championship with 10 points.
The following season he continued his involvement with Toro Rosso, alongside last season’s teammate Vergne, and improved his results, this time with 2 7th place finishes in China and Italy, his team’s home race, plus other point-securing finishes that allowed him to outperform, in both races and qualifying, his teammate and ending the season on 14 place in the Driver’s Championship with 20 points, helping Toro Rosso to beat Williams on the Constructors’ standings. This results allowed him to be the definitive replacement for fellow Aussie Mark Webber, who announced his retirement mid-season, and arrived to Red Bull Racing for the 2014 season.
The 2014 was the beginning of a new hybrid era, which was strongly dominated by the Mercedes powered cars; still, Daniel proved those who didn’t believed in him and fans alike what he was made of. With three race wins in Canada, Hungary and Belgium, plus another 5 podium finishes, and in points on all but three races, two of which were car-failure retirements and a disqualification in his home race, Daniel Ricciardo ended his 3rd full Formula One season in 3rd place of the Drivers Championship, outperforming 4 times world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel.
He attempted to follow-up that successful season the following year, but 2015 proved to be an even worst year for Renault powered cars. Red Bull Racing fell to 4th place in the Constructors’ standings after only 2 podium finishes by Ricciardo in Hungary and Singapore, two retirements and 4 non-points finishes. He ended the disappointing season on 8th place in the Drivers’ Championship with 92 points.
2016 was the year for Red Bull Racing to redeem themselves, and so they did. With 8 podiums and point finishes in all but one race – due to contact damage -, Daniel ended the season in 3rd place in the WDC with 256 points. His best result during the season was 1st place in Malaysia, marking his return to the highest position in the podium, which he dedicated to close friend, Jules Bianchi.
2017 is coming with big changes in regulations, and we expect it also comes with big success to our favorite Aussie.