Born: 1st July 1989
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
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Daniel Ricciardo won the British F3 championship in 2009. He progressed to the World Series by Renault the following year, where he finished runner-up to Mikhail Aleshin by two points.
Ricciardo drove for Red Bull in the post-season rookie test that year and again in 2010.
He remained in the World Series by Renault for 2011, but dovetailed it with increasing F1 commitments. He participated in Friday first practice sessions for Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.
Ahead of the British Grand Prix he joined HRT’s race team in place of Narain Karthikeyan.
Ricciardo remained at the team for the rest of the season, showing gradual signs of progress and faring well against his more experienced team mates. That earned him a promotion to Toro Rosso’s race team for 2012.
Ricciardo was quick to deliver on the points-scoring potential of the STR7, coming home ninth in his home race at Melbourne. But 11 races passed before he returned to the points as Toro Rosso found themselves at the tail of a congested midfield.
Buoyed by the arrival of James Key to replace technical director Giorgio Ascanelli, Ricciardo became a regular conteder for points in the second half of the season. In Korea a gearbox problem left him 21st on the grid but he finished ninth and would have been higher had a technical glitch not dropped him behind team mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Ricciardo was generally ahead of Vergne in their second season together, particularly in qualifying where he retained a significant advantage. But the car was little more competitive than its predecessor, and the pair rarely rose above the lower reaches of the points.
Nonetheless when Mark Webber announced his retirement from Formula One, Red Bull selected Ricciardo to replace him in 2014.
Ricciardo joined the reigning champions just as their grasp on the title was slipping: next to Mercedes’ dominant W05, the RB10 was clearly second best.
But it was capable of winning races – in Ricciardo’s hands at least. To the surprise of many, it was not the reigning four-times champion Sebastian Vettel who took Red Bull’s three wins that year, but the new addition to the team.
The season had begun on a slightly sour note as Ricciardo’s drive to second place at home in Australia was rewarded only with disqualification for a technical infringement. But in Canada the two Mercedes hit trouble and Ricciardo took advantage, brilliantly passing Sergio Perez’s Force India around the outside on his way to his first victory.
The second, in Hungary, was more fortuitous, thanks in part to a conveniently-timed Safety Car period. The in Belgium he was again the best placed driver to take advantage of trouble at Mercedes – this time after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg tangled with each other.
Ricciardo backed up those conspicuous successes with a series of strong points finishes which saw him end the year in third place. And with Vettel moving on to Ferrari, he became Red Bull’s de facto team leader.
Early in Ricciardo’s second season at Red Bull it became clear there would not be a repeat of his 2014 triumphs. Despite hard work in the off-season to rectify their engine problems Renault arrived at the first race of the season with persistent ‘drive-ability’ problems and poor reliability too. Ricciardo got off the line well in Melbourne season-opener but was powerless to prevent a string of rivals passing him by.
Ricciardo bore the brunt of the team’s misfortune during the season and being the only driver to run their upgraded engine late in the season was no advantage: it earned him another grid penalty in exchange for which he received an engine which offered little gains in performance.
He at least enjoyed the distinction of being one of few drivers to overtake a Mercedes on track during the year, taking advantage of a damp track at the Circuit of the Americas to spring a surprise attack on Hamilton. He also jousted with the silver cars at the Hungaroring but came off worst following contact with both, slipping to third place at the flag.
This was one of just two trips he made to the podium. The other came in Singapore, where Ricciardo believed his car had the pace to challenge Vettel’s race-winning Ferrari had it not been for two untimely Safety Car periods. He came in second.