Why We've Fallen For Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has a trademark smile. Image courtesy of: foxsports.com.au

Since moving to Formula One giants Red Bull Racing last season, Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo has quickly become one of the hottest prospects in motorsport. It’s tough to point out any flaws; even the Poms have taken the boy from Perth under their wing as a fan favourite - now that’s saying something! With the biggest season of his short career on the horizon, we take a closer look at why we’ve fallen in love with the 25-year-old.



Nationality



Let’s be honest, even if Ricciardo was a universally despised figure, we would still throw our support behind him. Why? Because he’s Australian – and there’s nothing more un-Australian than going against the grain. It just so happens that we’ve been blessed with a supremely talented driver that’s a top class bloke too. Mark Webber was our latest Aussie hope but failed to win a championship during his stint at Red Bull, but there’s encouraging signs that a fourth Australian Formula One champion isn’t too far away. 



That Smile



Now we may sound a little bit like a 15-year-old girl in grade 10 maths here, but how good is Ricciardo’s smile? Whether he’s won, lost or been disqualified, we always see that trademark cheesy grin at the end of every race. The amount of joy he beams from ear to ear is second to none, and it’s a big part of what makes him such a loveable character.  



F1 Drivers With Daniel Ricciardo's Smile






Age



At just 25, Ricciardo has plenty of time to fulfil his childhood dream and win a Formula One Driver’s Championship. After demonstrating his ability last year, his potential is clear. Red Bull realised that potential in 2014, and he was rewarded by overtaking Vettel as the team’s number one driver. With four years of Formula One experience now under his belt, he knows what it takes on the big tracks to knock off the big drivers. Ricciardo’s talent has got him to where he wants to be, but it’s his overriding self-confidence that has him relishing the opportunity. 





Ability To Win



Everyone knows how much of a top bloke Ricciardo is off the track, and he’s backed that up with a number of solid performances behind the wheel. He was the only driver to deny Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg wins last season, managing three Grand Prix victories in Canada, Hungary and Belgium. In addition to those victories, Ricciardo finished on the podium five more times, and also holds the lap record in Top Gear’s ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ challenge. 





Handling Of Vettel



We’re not quite sure what it is with Vettel, but he just doesn’t gel well with Aussies. In 2013, the German robbed former team mate Mark Webber of victory after disobeying his team’s orders in the Malaysian GP. Vettel was up to his old tricks again in last year’s Chinese GP. When an announcement over the team radio ordered Vettel to let Ricciardo past, his response was “tough luck”. Unlike Webber, Ricciardo dealt with the situation in a level-headed manner, keeping his cool like a true professional. The positive for the Aussie is he won’t have to deal with Vettel anymore since he made the switch to Ferrari.  



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