Ricciardo ‘quietly killing with a smile’

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo jokes that he plans to start the 2020 season-opener from the back of the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo jokes that he plans to start the 2020 season-opener from the back of the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo admits he uses his Mr Nice Guy persona to mug rivals out on track.

Ricciardo entered Formula 1 in 2011 with HRT with a huge smile on his face.

After half a year with the backmarker outfit, he moved over to Toro Rosso and then senior team Red Bull Racing.

Driving for Red Bull in 2014 he not only had to take on a four-time World Champion in Sebastian Vettel but also fight for race victories for the first time his career.

“At first I felt other competitors would take advantage of me being the nice guy,” he said in an interview Will Buxton for the official F1 website.

“Especially when I got into F1 it was like, ‘He’s too nice, we’re going to bully him on the track’ and I think they did for the first six months.

“I felt like that was going to be a reputation that was going to stay with me unless I quickly adapted.

“Then it was really 2014 when I felt everyone was still saying, ‘He’s got a fast car now but he’s still a soft touch’ and I could play to that and surprise them on track.

“That’s where these dummy overtakes, these lunges, I feel I really caught everyone by surprise and that was very powerful for me.

“I know what I’m capable of.

“Even know I’m smiling, but I’m quietly killing with a smile. It’s good.”

With seven race victories, 29 podiums and three pole positions, the Aussie has a record that many drivers can only dream of.

What he doesn’t have, though, is a World title.

Turning 30 last year, the Renault driver admits he had hoped for one, if not even three, before hitting that milestone.

“It’s what I certainly aimed to have, but if I’m really honest with you, after my year in 2014, if I then look at 2020, I would’ve expected a World title or three.

“From 2014 onwards, I’m certainly not surprised, if anything I’m a little bit underwhelmed.

“But in 2011, to put myself here and to know the impact I’ve had in the sport and where I’ve put myself, then for sure I’m happy, I’m proud.

“But I’m not there yet and not done.”

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