Born in Perth in 1989, Daniel Ricciardo started karting aged just nine after finding a hero in Ayrton Senna, and like most of his contemporaries set about gradually working his way through the ranks to single-seaters. In 2005 he entered the Australian Formula Ford series and, although driving an uncompetitive car, made enough of an impression to secure a scholarship for the following seasons Formula BMW Asia championship.
Claiming two wins and 10 podiums in his debut Formula BMW campaign with the Eurasia team, Ricciardo made an instant impression and finished third in the championship. He also enjoyed an outing in the British Formula BMW series, taking three points from two races, and another outing at the end-of-year World Finals, where he finished fifth.
In 2007 he switched categories to Formula Renault to compete in the Italian branch of the series. He ended the season sixth, scoring a solitary podium in Valencia. And although he gleaned nothing from four additional outings in the European championship that year, he was determined to do better in 2008 and signed up for a second European season, alongside a ride in the Formula Renault Western European Cup.
Though he came close to taking both championships, he finished the European series in second with six wins and five pole positions on his scorecard, while his biggest breakthrough came in the Western European Cup. Scoring nine pole positions and eight wins from 15 races, he claimed his first sporting title.
Already a signed-up member of the Red Bull junior team, Ricciardo progressed to the prestigious British Formula Three championship in 2009 and set about proving that his Formula Renault success wasnt a one off. Six poles and six wins later - and with two rounds still to run - he won his second championship in as many years.
When he wasnt winning F3 races, Ricciardo was hard at work on the Formula One simulator at Red Bulls Milton Keynes headquarters, or helping the teams test engineers at several straight-line test days. At the end of the year he was invited to drive for Red Bull at the young driver test and didnt disappoint, leaving Spain at the top of the timesheets.
This pace and his excellent feedback helped secure him the Red Bull reserve role for 2010 and although he was never required as a race stand-in, he did secure a second successive outing in the end-of-year young driver test. Just as importantly he further honed his race skills in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, winning four races and finishing second in the 2010 standings.
He stayed to compete in Formula Renault for a second season in 2011, and his Formula One career also took a step forward as he became the regular third driver for the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team. After putting in some impressive Friday practice appearances at each of the seasons first eight Grands Prix, there was growing speculation he was being lined up to replace either Sebastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari in a Toro Rosso race seat.
But in the build-up to Julys British Grand Prix it was announced he was to make his F1 race debut with HRT, who had signed a collaborative deal with Red Bull to support Ricciardos formation and development ahead of a potential future race seat for the 22 year-old with one of Red Bulls own teams. That team turned out to be Toro Rosso, who signed him for 2012 after some strong showings for HRT alongside former STR racer Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Paired alongside rookie team mate Jean-Eric Vergne, Ricciardo made use of his superior experience, outqualifying the Frenchman 16-4 over the course of the 2012 season with his silky smooth Q3 lap in Bahrain a particular highlight. He also made it into the points twice more than Vergne, although lower placings meant he scored fewer points overall. At the end of the year Toro Rosso rewarded the Australian with a new contract for the 2013 season.