The self-styled “Honey Badger” is fuzzy on the outside and feisty on the inside. Drivers beware because behind Ricciardo’s laidback persona and big grin is a razor-sharp racer with a bite.
The Australian combines all-out speed with impressive race craft. Never afraid to push to the limits if it means pulling off a pass, Ricciardo is a proven race-winner for Red Bull, capable of consistently finishing at the business end of the championship table.
A regular podium-finisher, Ricciardo has christened the steps around the world with a dousing of Aussie culture – the ‘Shoey’ – as he quaffed champagne from a soggy racing boot. Yes it’s goofy, but the trademark celebration illustrates why he is loved for his sense of humour but never underestimated on track.
His career’s next move to Renault’s works team brought fresh challenges for the Perth pilot, but failed to deliver his dream of following Jack Brabham and Alan Jones as the next world champion from Down Under.
And in 2021 he hopes a new chapter with the Mercedes-powered McLaren team might just change that. But whatever happens, Ricciardo is sure to keep on smiling.