formula one driver
F1 champion Daniel Ricciardo.
“I’m an aggressive racer. I take risks, but I’ll never put myself or anyone else in real danger”
You got your start racing go-karts in your home town of Perth. What was your fastest speed? The karts I was driving when I was nine were going close to 100km/h. At that age, it was super-fast. I loved it. Not many kids can say they drive at that speed. Now, aged 27, you do 360km/h on the Formula One circuit. Do your parents regret their choice of Saturday sport? They never really encouraged me from the start. Even though Dad did some racing, he wasn’t super-keen on it – and Mum obviously wasn’t. But I think once they saw how happy it made me, they couldn’t really deny me trying to chase my dream. You signed with Red Bull Racing in late 2013. Are you sick of people asking if they gave you wings? A little bit, but I don’t get asked that much anymore. You’ve described your Red Bull Racing teammates as your “first enemy”. Is this rivalry healthy? Enemy is probably too severe. But, sure, they’re your first opponent because they are the only ones on the grid who have exactly the same equipment as you. I think if you use it well, it can help the team. If both drivers are pushing harder to beat each other, then it should push the team in the right direction. There seems to be a lot of beef between F1 drivers. Is it the bitchiest sport out there? [Laughs.] Yeah, probably! In most sports, there’s normally some form of physical contact you can apply to your opponent. For example, in Aussie Rules, you can tackle a player and take out some anger on them. But in racing, you don’t always get the opportunity to go wheel-to-wheel with them, to have a really good battle on the track. So a lot of the time there can be a verbal interaction instead. You wrote on Instagram you were “gonna do all I can to make sweet love with more silverware [the trophy]”. Is there a line you wouldn’t cross on the track to achieve this? I’m a pretty, let’s say, aggressive racer. I do take risks, but I always feel as though they’re calculated. I’ll never put myself or anyone else in real danger. If there is a sniff of a victory and it’s [a choice] between winning or crashing, then I’ll go for it. As long as it’s not going to jeopardise my wellbeing, then I’ll always have a go. Your friend and fellow Formula One driver Jules Bianchi lost his life following a horrific crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Does that play on your mind? It did for a little while. It didn’t make me drive with any more fear, but it reiterated the purpose of being out on the track. If I am going to get in the car and potentially risk my life, then I need to do it properly: be true to myself, make every lap count and race as hard as I can. I need to make
it worth it. It wasn’t easy. Obviously, I had witnessed, on TV at least, racers pass away when I was young. But for it to happen in a race that I was involved in, and for it to be someone I knew quite well, it hit home pretty hard. The Formula E Championship (the electric-car version of F1) launched in 2014. Are electric cars the future of driving? I’m not convinced. For me, cars need to sound cool. Growing up, the guy down the road had a V8 and I always thought the noise was amazing. So we won’t see you in a Tesla any time soon? Probably not. We’ll see. I don’t want to say never. You’re known for your cheeky grin and there are even “Smile Like You’re Danny Ric” T-shirts. Have you thought about trademarking that? I haven’t. I’ll speak to my brand guys and see what they think. It’s quite cool to see signs that say that and to be recognised for something good. It’s better than being recognised for having my head down and the weight of the world on my shoulders. You sang on stage with metalcore band Parkway Drive earlier this year. What is it about screaming your lungs out that brings music to your ears? [Laughs.] I love music in general, but Parkway Drive was my youth. While most of the world hears screaming and yelling, I hear beautiful, hard melodies. Before a race I like to get fired up, so that kind of music normally works pretty well. How much lemon and honey did you need to drink afterwards? I asked Winston [Mccall, the band’s lead singer] if he had honey or anything to soothe his throat, but he just rolls with it. I did have a bit of whiskey to settle the nerves and apparently that helps with the throat as well. You have nearly 500,000 followers on Instagram. Lewis Hamilton has more than 3.2 million. You’re third on the Formula One ladder. Hamilton is first. What hurts more? Definitely the F1 ladder! I know the more you post on Instagram, the more followers you get. And obviously Lewis posts a lot with celebrities and with his shirt off. It depends how personal you want to get. I’ll always try to keep a little bit to myself. I’m never going to take a selfie in the mirror with my shirt off. Even if I think I have a nice body, I’m not going to advertise it like a schoolgirl.
´´unlike lewis, i´m not going to ADVERTISE MY BODY LIKE A SCHOOLGIRL´´