Formula One heads to Melbourne, Australia, this week for the start of the 2017 season, and that means all eyes once again will be on the hometown favorite, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo has recorded 18 podium finishes in his six seasons in F1, and while he stood atop the podium at Albert Park Circuit once, he didn’t actually get to keep those 15 championship points.
In 2014, Ricciardo started the Australian Grand Prix from P2, and fended off pressure from behind to remain there until the checkered flag came out. He celebrated on the podium alongside Lewis Hamilton, who finished P1, and Kevin Magnussen, who claimed P3, though his emotional high didn’t last long; shortly after the race, Ricciardo was disqualified for exceeding the hourly fuel flow limit.
The result would have made Ricciardo the first Aussie to finish on the podium in the Australian Grand Prix since the race was introduced to the F1 calendar.
Although Ricciardo didn’t get to keep the second-place finish from his debut with Red Bull, that didn’t diminish his performance. In out-qualifying his new teammate — four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel — by 11 places, Ricciardo gave the world a glimpse of what was to come, as he went on to become the only non-Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver to win a race that year.
After a difficult 2015 season for Red Bull, Ricciardo reaffirmed his abilities at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, starting from P8 and narrowly missing out on the last spot on the podium.
Red Bull didn’t look as strong as Mercedes or Scuderia Ferrari during testing, though it could well bring updates to Melbourne as Adrian Newey said the initial RB13 design was intentionally simple. If Red Bull truly does have the pace to match them in Australia, Ricciardo likely will do everything in his power to get the podium that slipped through his fingers three years ago.
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool
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