Ricciardo.. . and Kyvat on Max, Tatts
Formula 1’s honey badger explains the origins of his unusual nickname, and is far from his usual sunny self as he talks about the pain of his defeat at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix
Daniel Ricciardo is wrapped up. He’s wearing a Red Bull overcoat over his warm top and his choice of drink is telling: “Just a cup of hot water, please.” He’s not the only one who’s suffering from the cold. It is chilly in Montréal, and all of Red Bull’s guests and assorted media have crammed into the team’s tiny hospitality unit, with the door closed against the cold.
Ricciardo arrived in Montréal with a mood to match the climate: downcast. He believes he should have won the previous two grands prix, one of which, the Spanish GP, was snatched by new team-mate Max Verstappen on his Red Bull debut. The other, Monaco, was squandered by the team’s pitlane tyre fumble that nullied Dan’s hitherto immaculate performance.
There’s the hope of better things to come, though, with the recent addition of an upgraded TAG-Renault PU. But on this icy morning, Ricciardo is struggling to see the sunny side.
As F1 Racing sits down opposite F1’s selfstyled ‘honey badger’, we’re hopeful that a few questions from our readers will warm him up. When did you acquire the nickname ‘The Honey Badger’, and who gave it to you? John Slater, New Zealand It was my trainer at the time, Stuart Smith. He’d shown me a documentary on it, and said: “Dude, this animal’s great!” I thought it was awesome. Then he added that he thought I had a lot of honey badger qualities. And I thought, ‘yeah, I think I do’. So it started from there and that was it and I think I’ve done well to keep it going.
For any F1 Racing readers lacking the requisite knowledge of exotic fauna, the ratel or honey badger is a particularly feisty weasel-like mammal, with great strength for its size, noted ferocity and skin tough enough to resist machete blows. Despite this, it looks deceptively cute and cuddly. You have been warned…
Do you have pets? If yes, what are they? Perla Rincon, Spain No I don’t have any pets. I’m not really an animal person, but if someone wants to give me a pet honey badger then I wouldn’t say no. Lewis walks into the paddock with his dogs and I’d love to walk in with a honey badger on a leash. That’s my vision and my dream!
What is your view of the aeroscreen/halo debate and its arrival in F1 next year? Duncan Kennedy, UK It’s a tough one. I started racing because I loved it. I loved the speed and I loved the risk. Part of the attraction is the danger and knowing that you are doing something that’s a little bit more dangerous than, say, what a football player does, and that makes you feel a little bit cooler. So I do love that aspect. But for me the whole head protection thing is a different side of the debate. It’s not us being scared, it’s just us eliminating another avoidable thing. If we’ve got something over our head it’s not going to change the way we approach a corner. If we hit a wall it’s still going to hurt, just as hard, just as much.
So if the halo is just going to protect us from a ying object then let’s go for it. But also, while