ALTHOUGH I’M no longer a se­ri­ous For­mula 1 fan th­ese days, I still keep an eye on it. And I see enough to know that I couldn’t be hap­pier for young Daniel Ricciardo’s suc­cess with Red Bull.

He’s front of my mind at the mo­ment be­cause of his per­for­mance at the post-race press con­fer­ence at the re­cent Bri­tish F1 GP at Sil­ver­stone.

The young bloke fronting up to the cam­eras had ar­rived only days ear­lier on a roll, the ‘best of the rest’ in re­sults to the dom­i­nant Mercedes and Ferrari teams, shoot­ing re­al­is­ti­cally for his sixth con­sec­u­tive podium. And ready to seize the chance to grab third place in the cham­pi­onship points tally. Then it all turned to mud for Ricciardo in qualif ying. First an is­sue forc­ing a gearbox swap bumped him back a com­pul­sory five places on the grid. Then a turbo is­sue held him back. In­stead of win­ning a grid spot within reach of the front run­ners, Ricciardo had to set­tle for be­ing ‘Tail-end Char­lie’.

So what did he do? Although the For­mula 1 gods weren’t smil­ing on him at Sil­ver­stone, Ricciardo kept smil­ing, drove like a de­mon, a brave, gifted de­mon, and fin­ished a cred­itable fifth.

Then we got his take on his blighted qualif ying ex­pe­ri­ence and a race re­sult that fell short of his hopes and plans for the week­end.

“I just felt like the whole race I was over­tak­ing cars,” said a smil­ing Ricciardo. “And I hope the fans en­joyed it. It was great fun com­ing back through the field and I gave it ev­ery­thing. It’s been strong and to get fifth from the back to­day, I re­ally couldn’t ask for more.”

Fi­nally he said: “I would give this race 10 out of 10 in terms of fun.”

What he ex­pressed in those few words pretty much sums up ev­ery­thing I ad­mire about young Daniel Ricciardo.

In essence he told the world how much fun he’d had that day en­joy­ing his sport de­spite the set­backs, giv­ing it his best, and bless him, he ac­knowl­edged the peo­ple whose sup­port makes the whole thing pos­si­ble – the of his op­po­nent. No at­tempt to blame the equip­ment or tyres, or to crit­i­cise the of­fi­cials. No ex­cuse at all ac­tu­ally. It was a mea culpa, with a touch of hu­mil­ity to it. Mea cul­pas, hu­mil­ity – th­ese qual­i­ties are quite thin on the ground th­ese days, par­tic­u­larly among those who cir­cu­late in the rar­i­fied at­mos­phere of the A-lister, in­clud­ing the For­mula 1 tribe

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not say­ing Ricciardo is Mr Per­fect Pants, a man who never bitches or gets grumpy. It’s just that he comes across pretty con­sis­tently as a good na­tured bloke, who has made the most of his op­por­tu­ni­ties, and whose con­sid­er­able tal­ent hasn’t gone to his head.

While I loved your work be­hind the wheel at Sil­ver­stone, Daniel, my 10 out of 10 rat­ing is for your press­con­fer­ence per­for­mance. And if you’ve got some time on your hands af­ter the fi­nal round in Novem­ber, per­haps Ten­nis Aus­tralia could talk to you about pro­vid­ing some at­ti­tude coach­ing for a cou­ple of its lead­ing lights.


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