Q&A

for­mula one driver

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Stellar Contents - In­ter­view by AL­LEY PAS­COE

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´´

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