The lowdown on Daniel Ricciardo
2017: 5th place. Born: 1/7/1989.
Red Bull’s smiling assassin is almost impossible to dislike, but his underlying steely racing determination will be put under even more pressure in 2018 if team-mate Max Verstappen continues his stellar rise.
While Ricciardo was the team’s undoubted No. 1 in 2016, last year the honours were more even – though the Australian scored 32 more points, he was down 2-1 in the race-win stakes.
Both drivers will be hoping for better reliability this year – Ricciardo had two DNFs in his first four starts, and three in the last four as Kimi Raikkonen overtook him to snatch fourth place in the standings.
He catapulted into F1 in 2011 with backmarkers HRT, but it wasn’t long before he was racing for Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso alongside Jean-Eric Vergne.
The pair were closely matched for two seasons, before Ricciardo ultimately got the call to replace compatriot Mark Webber at Red Bull for 2014.
Not happy to merely serve as a foil for Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo won a stunning three times, sending the four-time champion running to Ferrari for 2015.
Though that year was a disappointment for Ricciardo, he was third overall in 2016 as he responded to the sensational promotion of Dutch teen prodigy Verstappen – who won on his Red Bull debut -- with victory in Malaysia and seven other podiums.