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During the 2022 summer break, Daniel Ricciardo announced that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of the year, leaving him without a seat for 2023. The Australian, who made his Formula 1 debut in 2011 with HRT, has become one of the most beloved drivers, known for his funny personality and big smile.
Ricciardo soon impressed with his speed and skill behind the wheel, proving that he could be one of the great stars of the future. The Australian, in 12 years, has driven for HRT, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Renault, and McLaren, being one of the best drivers of the decade, achieving 8 victories, 32 podiums, 3 pole positions and 16 fastest laps.
On the track, his driving style is very eye-catching; with his famous and relentless divebomb overtaking and off-track, he has stolen the hearts of all fans, being one of the biggest personalities on the grid. The Australian will be missed next year, and it remains to be seen whether he will return to the category in 2024 or if this will be his last season in F1.
1. First Points In F1 – 2012 Australian GP
After competing during the second half of the 2011 season with the backmarker HRT, with whom he could not practically fight anyone, in 2012, Ricciardo signed for Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), where this time he could show his ability behind the wheel, being a midfield team.
Ricciardo completed a great weekend during the first round of the season at his home race in Australia, proving that, with a car to match, the Australian could bring out his full potential and deliver results.
On Saturday, Ricciardo qualified tenth, just ahead of teammate Jean-Éric Vergne. On Sunday, the Australian got points, finishing in a solid ninth position, again ahead of his teammate, and thus achieving his first in the category.
2. Maiden Win In F1 – 2014 Canadian GP
After performing well with Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013, Daniel Ricciardo was promoted to Red Bull for the 2014 season, replacing compatriot Mark Webber. Ricciardo did not disappoint in his first season with Red Bull, being far superior and beating his teammate, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, taking 8 podiums and 3 wins, and finishing third in the championship behind the Mercedes.
His first victory came at the 2014 Canadian GP, after a frantic and exciting race in which the Australian started sixth and gradually climbed positions as the laps went by. The Mercedes started the race fighting for the victory, but after Lewis Hamilton retired, Nico Rosberg took the lead while the rest of the grid fought for the other podium positions.
Ricciardo, however, had great pace and, in the last five laps, overtook Sergio Perez’s Force India and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes to take victory against all odds, completing a magnificent first Formula 1 victory.
3. Fantastic Second Win In F1 – 2014 Hungarian GP
Daniel Ricciardo’s second win didn’t come easy either, at the 2014 Hungarian GP, completing a fantastic drive in changing conditions. The Australian qualified fourth, behind the two Mercedes and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
The race started with rain, so all drivers started with intermediate tires, which caused many accidents and retirements from the earliest moments of the race. On lap 23, Sergio Perez had a bad accident that brought the Safety Car, so Ricciardo took the opportunity to switch to dry tires and opt for a two-stop strategy.
On lap 54, the Australian pitted again, going out third behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Ricciardo soon overtook Hamilton in a superb move and subsequently dived past Alonso’s Ferrari for the lead, claiming his second win of the year in style.
4. Second Win In A Row – 2014 Belgian GP
His third win of the season came right at the next round, the Belgian Grand Prix, after the summer break, showing just how fit he was and how well he had adapted to the 2014 Red Bull, unlike his teammate Sebastian Vettel.
On Saturday, the two Mercedes had qualified first and second, while Ricciardo was fifth, behind Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. However, during the race’s second lap, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg came into contact while fighting for the lead, which caused a puncture to the Briton and left the German’s front wing somewhat damaged.
Rosberg remained in the lead, and shortly after the incident, Ricciardo overtook Fernando Alonso and then his teammate Vettel after the latter made a mistake. Rosberg had to change his front wing at the pit stop, so the Australian came out ahead of him after his pit stop, keeping the lead for the rest of the race.
With this victory, Ricciardo completed his third win in six races, showing that he was in Formula 1 to stay and was the new leader of the Red Bull team.
5. Magnificent Pole Position – 2016 Monaco GP
The narrow and twisty streets of the Principality of Monaco have always been good for Daniel Ricciardo. He completed some of his best drives there, achieving 4 podiums and a victory at one of his talismanic circuits.
In 2016, the Australian completed a superb lap in qualifying, with which he took the pole position ahead of the superior Mercedes. Ricciardo completed a smooth and perfect lap without any mistakes and was almost two-tenths ahead of second-placed Nico Rosberg.
Despite his outstanding performance on Saturday, the joy was not repeated on Sunday. The Australian was comfortably leading the race, but when it was time to make his pit stop to change to dry tires, the team did not have them ready, making him lose a lot of time, which cost him the lead and, with it, the victory.
6. Unexpected Divebomb – 2016 Italian GP
As we have already mentioned, Daniel Ricciardo’s most famous maneuver is known as “divebomb,” which is to overtake on the inside, braking much later than the opponent. The “Honey Badger” is the best driver on the grid doing this, as he knows very well when and how he has to brake.
In the same way, the Red Bulls he has had for so many years were cars whose configuration allowed him to do that more easily because, with them, he could brake somewhat later than the rest of the cars.
Of all, the riskiest divebomb was the one he did on Valtteri Bottas for a fifth place during the 2016 Italian GP. The Australian dived down the inside from very far out and braked late. Still, he did it in time, making the chicane correctly and without coming into contact with the Finn and completing a sensational overtake.
7. Beating Verstappen For The Win – 2016 Malaysian GP
Ricciardo’s only victory in 2016 came at the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was full of drama and tense moments. The Australian started from fourth position, behind both Mercedes and teammate Max Verstappen.
On Sunday, the Australian climbed up to second place at the first corner following the incident between Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg and remained in this position for most of the race. However, Verstappen got very close to him in the following laps, and the two were battling side by side for a couple of laps, although the Australian could defend his position.
It looked like the race was going to end like that, but with 16 laps to go, Lewis Hamilton’s engine blew up, so Ricciardo inherited the lead, crossing the finish line first, followed by Verstappen. This one-two was Red Bull’s first since the 2013 Brazilian GP. Nico Rosberg completed the podium after a remarkable comeback following his accident at the first corner.
8. Triple Divebomb Overtake For The Win – 2017 Azerbaijan GP
As we have seen, Ricciardo is no stranger to street circuits. In 2017, the Australian proved that the Baku circuit is no exception, completing a stunning and relentless drive to take the win after a chaotic race.
In qualifying, Ricciardo finished in a discreet tenth position, which left him with a difficult job for Sunday, having to overtake many positions to get a good result. Nevertheless, the Australian drove with iron hands on Sunday, and between incidents and overtaking, he was making his way through the grid.
On lap 23, after the red flag caused by the accident between Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, Ricciardo was already sixth, and after the restart, the Australian completed one of the most exceptional overtakes we have ever seen, diving down the inside of the first corner to overtake three cars at once, something within the reach of very few.
After this masterclass move, the Australian took advantage of the extra stop Hamilton had to make to adjust his headrest, which had become loose. Then the 10-second penalty Vettel received to cross the finish line in the first position comfortably.
9. Mr. Overtake For The Win – 2018 Chinese GP
The 2018 Chinese Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo’s divebombs in all their glory, which led the Australian to victory. The Red Bull driver qualified fifth, just behind teammate Max Verstappen and behind the two Ferraris and two Mercedes.
On Sunday, as in his other victories, Ricciardo showed us again that he can win without starting from the front, thanks to his incredible pace, consistency, and overtaking ability, making him one of the most complete drivers on the grid.
The Australian lost a position in the race’s early stages, staying sixth during the first half of the race. However, his comeback began after a safety car period that regrouped the whole pack. The “Honey Badger” found his ideal place to overtake, the firm and tight turn 14, after the long back straight.
There, Ricciardo completed 3 consecutive divebombs, overtaking Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel, before completing a superb, close overtake on Valtteri Bottas to take a stunning victory. In that race, the Australian showed that he is probably the best driver on the grid when it comes to overtaking.
10. Redemption Win – 2018 Monaco GP
Two years after the disastrous pit stop that cost Ricciardo the victory during the 2016 Monaco GP, the Australian arrived on the streets of the Principality hungry for victory, the one that fate owed him.
The “Honey Badger” completed a perfect weekend, without any rival, finishing first in the three free practice sessions and the three qualifying sessions, thus starting from the pole position.
On Sunday, starting from the pole position, the Australian dominated the first 28 laps when he suddenly reported a loss of power that turned out to be an MGU-K failure that reduced his horsepower by 25 percent. He could only use 6 of the 8 gears.
However, the Red Bull driver withstood Sebastian Vettel’s attacks and remained in the first position, thus materializing his long-awaited victory in the streets of Monaco and, with it, the revenge of 2016.
11. Incredible Comeback – 2018 Hungarian GP
The Hungaroring circuit is one of the best for Daniel Ricciardo, although the 2018 GP did not start well. The Red Bull driver could only qualify twelfth, so he would have to overtake many positions to score good points in the race.
On Sunday, the race started terribly when a contact in the first corner dropped him to P15. After that, the “Honey Badger” activated the beast mode, and from then on, he made his way through the grid, completing overtake after overtake.
On lap 21, the Australian completed a superb overtake around the outside of Kevin Magnussen to move into sixth, and a few laps later, divebombed into the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly to move into fifth.
In the final laps, he had an intense fight with Valtteri Bottas. They came into contact, causing damage to Ricciardo’s sidepod, who finally overtook the Finn on the last lap to cross the finish line in a fantastic fourth position.
12. From P16 To P6 – 2019 Japanese GP
At the end of 2018, Ricciardo announced his departure from Red Bull, and in 2019 he signed for Renault, thus embarking on a new project in search of the long-awaited world championship. However, Renault did not build an overly competitive car, and the Australian struggled a bit as he adapted to the car, although he improved markedly as the races went by.
One of his brightest moments during the season came at the Japanese Grand Prix. Ricciardo qualified sixteenth, just behind teammate Nico Hulkenberg, and both were looking to score good points on Sunday.
In the race, Ricciardo demonstrated his great skill by making his way through the grid, completing successful overtakes consistently, to cross the finish line in a fantastic sixth position.
Despite Ricciardo’s great race, Renault was disqualified from the Grand Prix 10 days later due to a brake irregularity, which resulted in the loss of all the work done. However, on the positive side, Ricciardo showed that he was already comfortable with the car and ready to perform at his best.
13. Podium With Renault – 2020 Eifel GP
For the 2020 season, both Ricciardo and Renault made a quantum leap in performance, completing a great season. Ricciardo made a bet with team boss Cyril Abiteboul that if he got a podium during the season, he would have to get a tattoo.
The long-awaited podium did not come until the Eifel GP, held at the Nürburgring, which was the eleventh round of the season. Ricciardo qualified in a great sixth position, just ahead of his teammate, Esteban Ocon, so on Sunday, they were looking to score good points and not be overtaken by anyone.
In the race, the Australian moved up a position on the first lap and, on lap 9, completed a superb overtake on Charles Leclerc, moving into fourth place. After that, he benefited from Valtteri Bottas’ retirement to take the third position and achieve the first podium with Renault.
Sometime after this fantastic podium, Abiteboul fulfilled his promise to get a tattoo, chosen by Daniel Ricciardo, even though the Australian would sign for McLaren for 2020 and the Frenchman would retire from Formula 1.
14. Another Great Podium For Renault – 2020 Emilia Romagna GP
Two rounds after the Eifel GP, at the Emilia Romagna GP, Ricciardo showed he was in excellent form, taking another podium against all odds. In qualifying, the Australian was fifth, while Valtteri Bottas took the pole position, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen, and Gasly.
The goal for the race, considering that the most superior Ferraris were starting from behind, was to finish in the top five. On Sunday, the “Honey Badger” overtook Gasly on the first lap, placing him behind Bottas, Verstappen, and Hamilton.
The Australian opted for a one-stop strategy, making the pit stop on lap 14 and placing himself in the eighth position. After that, Ricciardo gradually gained positions while the rest of the drivers stopped again or suffered accidents, such as Verstappen’s on lap 51, thus climbing up to third place.
During the last laps, after the Safety Car period, he was defending from the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the Russian Daniil Kvyat, maintaining his third position until the finish line, thus achieving another fantastic podium in which we could see again his famous “shoey.”
15. Fightback Through The field – 2021 Portuguese GP
After his time at Renault, Ricciardo started his new stage at McLaren. Since then, the Australian has been unable to adapt to the car and the team, having many problems and performing well below his teammate Lando Norris. This is one of the main reasons for the departure of the experienced driver from the team.
However, we did get to see glimpses of his old trademark quality on a few occasions, such as during the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. The Australian started from P16, so he had to fight in the middle of the grid to score points.
On the first lap, Ricciardo fought against Lance Stroll not to lose position, overtook Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri and Fernando Alonso’s Alpine, and after Kimi Raikkonen’s accident, he moved up to thirteenth.
On lap 7, after the Safety Car period, Ricciardo completed a fantastic overtake on the inside over Antonio Giovinazzi and then George Russell to move up to eleventh. On lap 18, he overtook Sebastian Vettel to move into the points, and in the closing laps of the race, he overtook Carlos Sainz to finish a solid ninth.
16. Masterful Win With McLaren – 2021 Italian GP
Despite underperforming throughout the year, Ricciardo impressed the world with a magnificent victory at the chaotic Italian Grand Prix, restoring hopes for the Australian. The 2021 Italian Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races in recent times, with multiple incidents that shook the grid order on several occasions.
The “Honey Badger” qualified fifth on Friday, just behind teammate Lando Norris. In Saturday’s sprint race, he was third and was promoted to second place by a penalty from Valtteri Bottas, leaving him in a solid second position for Sunday.
On Sunday, the Australian overtook Max Verstappen at the start, taking the lead and staying there for most of the race, holding off attacks from rivals after the red flag caused by Charles Leclerc’s accident.
Thus, Ricciardo crossed the finish line first, followed by Norris, scoring a legendary victory, McLaren’s first win since the 2012 Brazilian GP.
Daniel Ricciardo has undoubtedly been one of the most influential Formula 1 drivers of the last 10 years, both on and off the track. His incredible speed and particular way of overtaking have made him one of the fastest drivers on the grid, completing great performances without ever having had the quickest car.
Off the track, it is impossible not to love this guy, as his charismatic personality makes him one of the most likable drivers, always with his big smile and joking around. We don’t know what the future holds for him or if he will return to F1, but we will miss him in the paddock in 2023.