Ricciardo officially reaches 10 years in Formula 1

Henry Valantine
Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT driver, ahead of his F1 debut in 2011

July 10 2021 marks a decade of Daniel Ricciardo’s involvement in Formula 1, after making his debut for HRT at the 2011 British Grand Prix.

The fresh-faced Australian was parachuted into the back-marking team in place of Narain Karthikeyan at a week’s notice, as the Red Bull junior took his first steps in a Formula 1 car.

Seven wins, 31 podiums and almost 200 races later, the 32-year-old has plenty of experience under his belt in F1 – and he revealed he would tell his younger self to have spent more time trying to take things more steadily in his first outings.

“I remember my first race at Silverstone, I was trying to do too much,” Ricciardo said in a previous interview with Speedcafe.com (via Motorsport.com). “In my defence, I was sent to the lion’s den: I was only told a week before that I was going to race. I exhausted myself trying to do too much.

“It wasn’t the perfect preparation. There are only 24 hours in a day and I was trying to cram as much information as possible into a short time.

“I was trying to be a hero, when the key was really just to lay the foundations.”

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It was a meteoric rise to Formula 1 in a relatively short space of time for Ricciardo, who had just missed out on the Formula Renault 3.5 title by two points in his first full season in the series, after quickly jumping through Formula Renault and F3.

With the speed of his jump to F1, he admitted that he hadn’t quite got his head around what that would entail when he arrived.

“I’d been watching F1 since I was a kid and when I finally got there, mentally I wasn’t prepared,” the Australian said.

“You set your sights on F1, you put it on a bit of a pedestal, but then you’re on the grid alongside drivers like Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, who I saw wheel-to-wheel when I was younger, and suddenly you have to fight against them.”

“I would really tell the rookie I was to relax – everyone started at a similar level in karting and had similar feelings in your place.

“Then I would tell him to try and have as much fun as possible, not to stress too much. For my third race I had gained confidence and was starting to think I belonged in F1, but in those first two races I felt caught out.”

He since developed and kicked on to seats in Toro Rosso and Red Bull, before a stint at Renault and now with McLaren. While he and the team have admitted they are disappointed with how the season has gone so far, there is still plenty of time for him to turn things around as he edges towards 200 race starts in F1.

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