Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest in Formula 1 last year, in a short space of time he made quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel look ordinary, received universal praise for his ballsy overtaking moves and became Red Bull’s star driver.
Now as defacto leader of the team he faces the challenge of a young gun in Russian teammate Daniil Kvyat, a case of the shoe being on the other foot for the big smiling Australian. He spoke ahead of the 2015 season opener in Australia.
What are you most looking forward to when you get off the plane in Australia?
Daniel Ricciardo: The fresh air. I love going home and the fresh air really gives me that home feeling. I spend so much time now away from Australia, that anywhere in Oz feels like home really. It’s the cars, the accent, the food and the weather.
What’s your favourite thing about the first race?
DR: I’m just excited to finally go racing again. And for me it’s fun. Obviously I’m really privileged having it at home, but in any case, it means it’s a start to a new year. There is always new motivation and I think it’s exciting.
What’s your favourite thing about Aussie F1 fans?
DR: They are not shy. They’ll go out and cheer and will be loud and flamboyant. They are pretty passionate about sports in general. It’s great to see Formula One growing a lot in Australia. It’s becoming quite a popular sport, which is really cool to see.
What’s your favourite thing about the track in Melbourne?
DR: The whole vibe and atmosphere is just amazing. It’s busy and there is always something going on. The track is fun. I’ve always liked street circuits. I think it’s a great and fast flowing circuit.
How did testing go for you?
DR: Testing has been relatively good for us. We had a few reliability issues but we racked up a lot of miles and learned a lot. I still feel that we have a bit more to go. But there is no better place to do this than going racing. I’m ready to go.