RACE DEBRIEF

    He’s one of the most popular drivers on the grid with his wide smile and positive outlook on life, but it turns out Daniel Ricciardo does have some things he complains about. As we get to know him, we learn his favourite things about life on the road, his favourite bands and his alternate career choice…

    For more, download the Bahrain Grand Prix race programme for free!

    Where were you born: I was born in Perth, Western Australia. I think it was in St Anne’s hospital!

    Where do you live: I currently live in Monaco. Monaco is kind of my racing home, but ‘home home’ is still Perth. My family is still out there so normally Christmas and off-season I’m getting back there. Plus I’ve also got a place in California which is my ideal little holiday spot, so I’m pretty well spread in the world – California, Europe and Australia!

    READ MORE: The inner steel behind Ricciardo’s smile – and why McLaren wanted it

    The best thing about racing: Competing at the highest level. For me that’s the privilege and real buzz. It’s going against all these other great competitors from all parts of life, all different nationalities, who have got here from some similar paths and some not so, and then going up against each other thinking we’re all the best in the world. That’s what I love.

    Formula One World Championship
    Ricciardo's colourful, glittery one-off helmet design for the Bahrain Grand Prix

    The worst thing about the lifestyle: Not really having a home in that homely way. Monaco is home but my suitcase is still on the floor. It’s lacking that little bit of a settled lifestyle that is probably the hardest thing.

    On days off I like to… : After the last race I got back on Sunday night and Monday was a day off for me so I just enjoyed time to myself, laying on the couch, watching TV. I’m re-watching Breaking Bad at the moment, so I watched a bunch of episodes and really lazed around. That’s a lazy day off, but on a more planned one it would be to go out and do something. I love nature so I’d go mountain biking or hiking with friends. Or if I’m fortunate enough to be in a city with music, I just love to go and see music, that’s kind of my getaway. But then none of that is easy in these times…

    READ MORE: Ricciardo one of four drivers 'at different level' says Renault sporting director

    If you cook, what is your signature dish: It’s kind of like ‘Can you play tennis?’ For me, unless you can hit a good top-spin forehand or whatever, you can’t really play tennis. Everyone can swing and hit a ball over the net but can you really play? It’s a bit like that with cooking! Yes, everyone can throw some pasta in a pot, but does it actually taste good?! I can survive, but I certainly don’t classify myself as a cook, and I don’t want to kid the audience with that one!

    If you were not a racer what would you be: My semi-realistic answer – it’s not like a fairytale – is I played tennis growing up and I’m not saying I was the best or anything but I love tennis. I love one-on-one competition, so I would have pursued tennis if racing didn’t exist.

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    Courtside seats – Ricciardo's love of basketball stemmed from Michael Jordan

    Favourite lesson at school: Sports! That’s like a cheating answer but… I guess English. If we had to study a film or something and write an essay on it then that was the only thing I was OK at doing, otherwise I was too active. I couldn’t sit still for long; it wasn’t my thing.

    Best place you have travelled to: There are two, and who knows if I’d ever have gone without racing? Maybe I would have once I learned music was a big part of it, but Austin’s one, because when we first went there I didn’t know anything about the place. But Austin is one of my favourite cities in the world now, hands down. And then there is Tokyo, Japan. Our race isn’t in Tokyo but normally we have events there and get to spend a few days in town. I’d visited many other parts of Asia and was never really in love with a previous Asian city and then Tokyo really grabbed me!

    WATCH: Daniel Ricciardo opens up to Will Buxton on the eve of the 2020 season, discussing his career, emotions and ambitions in this exclusive interview.

    Where would you like to visit: In Europe there are still some places I haven’t seen but would like to. Croatia, Berlin, actually, and then in America I’d still like to do the vast countryside somewhere like Montana – that’s on my list. I’ve done Austin and Nashville and that sort of vibe speaks to me, so there must be a few other American states or cities that have that to offer. And to be honest more of Australia as well!

    Favourite Movie: First one that came to my head was Friday Night Lights with Billy Bob Thornton. So that one and something with Jim Carrey – Dumb and Dumber!

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    Dale Earnhardt made the #3 famous in NASCAR, and it's the number that Ricciardo campaigns in F1

    Favourite singer/band: It’s too hard! My favourite band growing up was Alexisonfire, a Canadian kind of hardcore band. But any punk was the thing that got me really into music in general. I’ll never get sick of listening to stuff like Blink-182 because it was such an important time in my life.

    Motor-racing heroes: Ayrton Senna and Dale Earnhardt are the two that stand out. And also Valentino Rossi; I’m being greedy but those three!

    READ MORE: Ricciardo promises to 'leave it all on the table' as he bids to sign off final Renault races in style

    Non-racing hero (not family or friend): He’s still kind of a racer but I loved Travis Pastrana growing up. I loved what he stands for; he’s nuts. As a kid before I had racing pictures in my bedroom I had Michael Jordan. It was funny, it was him or nothing. When he was playing then I was playing basketball in the backyard, and as soon as he stopped, basketball was dead to me. It was crazy how much he drew me towards it.

    Most treasured possession: Honestly, my iPod. It’s not just about having music on it and I love music and listen to it all the time. It is more that there are so many memories on it. Anyone who loves music knows what I’m talking about – a song takes you back to a place or a time or a memory and it’s special. An iPod is kind of like a photo album for me.

    This feature is from the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix race programme, which you can download for free here