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Daniel Ricciardo's Greatest Formula 1 Moments — So Far – Jalopnik

It’s official: Daniel Ricciardo is parting ways with McLaren, which means that the Australian driver’s career is surrounded by a little bit of a question mark. It’s not clear where he’ll be driving next year, but one thing is certain: His legacy as a fan favorite is without equal. Today, we’re celebrating some of the finest moments of his Formula 1 career — so far.
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At the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo took victory, but he also pulled off one of the most exceptional overtakes we’ve seen in recent years when he ran down the inside to pass three cars at once. It was an incredible moment — one that epitomized the driver’s skill.
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Ah, the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix. As a young Daniel Ricciardo fan who had opted against going to Montreal, I truly rued this day. Ricciardo had qualified sixth on the grid, but after a chaotic race, he took the lead with two laps to go. Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa made contact; Perez went into the wall while Massa ran off in to the grass, resulting in a safety car hat guaranteed Ricciardo his first-ever F1 win.
That made Ricciardo the first non-Mercedes driver to take victory in 2014, as well as the fourth Australian to win a Grand Prix, joining the likes of Jack Brabham, Alan Jones, and Mark Webber.
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The McLaren years hadn’t exactly been easy for Ricciardo, but there was one big highlight: Daniel Ricciardo winning the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. Ricciardo pulled into the lead right at the start of the race, only losing out on the lead to Max Verstappen during a pit stop, before once again retaining the lead. The dominant performance was a rare one, and it gave McLaren a 1-2 finish.
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While a pit stop problem cost Daniel Ricciardo a win at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, his qualifying lap was the stuff of legends. We can talk about the concept of a “perfect lap” all we want, but Ricciardo got just about as close as humanly possible to it that year.
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No matter what you think about Monaco as a circuit within the modern F1 era, it remains one of the most iconic tracks on the schedule thanks to its history — and in 2018, Ricciardo was able to add his name to a list of the track’s iconic winners.
And it was a damn good win, too. While he dominated for the first 28 laps, Ricciardo reported a loss of power that turned out to be an MGU-K failure. That reduced his horsepower by 25 percent — and to add insult to injury, only six of his eight gears were functioning. But with the help of dirty air and some stunning defensive maneuvers, Ricciardo was able to hold off second-place Sebastian Vettel to take a win.
(Let’s ignore the fact that Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both claimed this was one of the most boring F1 races ever. It wasn’t boring for us Ricciardo fans.)
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Part of what made Ricciardo such a star in Formula 1 is his personality, epitomized perhaps no better than his bet with Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul. The two wagered that if Ricciardo were to secure a podium for the team, Abiteboul would have to get a tattoo. Ricciardo’s third-place finish during the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix secured his win on that bet, and Abiteboul dutifully completed his part of the wager despite Ricciardo switching teams and Abiteboul stepping back from running an F1 team.
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The 2014 F1 season was the first that I actively followed from start to finish, and I followed hard. I woke up for every single practice session, not just qualifying or the race, and as a burgeoning Ricciardo fan, I’ll never forget this (temporary) pole position. It was the middle of the night, but I was losing my mind just like the Australian fans as they watched their driver top the timing charts. A second-place qualifying, though, wasn’t too bad for his home race.
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As a Texan myself, I’ve always appreciated Ricciardo’s dedication to the Lone Star State. It might be cheesy, but I don’t care — you could tell the man enjoyed himself.
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Combined with Ricciardo’s love of Texas is a love for all things NASCAR, which, of course, includes Dale Earnhardt. When F1 allowed drivers to choose their own permanent race number in 2014, Ricciardo chose the iconic number three in honor of his hero.
After winning his first race with McLaren, Ricciardo was given an opportunity to run a few laps behind the wheel of one of Earnhardt’s cars during the US Grand Prix weekend.
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I’ll be honest — the shoey is gross. Drinking champagne from a dank, sweaty racing shoe sounds like hell on earth, but I give Ricciardo credit for his unfailing commitment to Australia’s best sporting bit and his dedication to getting everyone around him to join in. Is it gross? Yes. Does it still bring me immense amounts of disgusted joy? Absolutely.
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While he was always a fun driver, Ricciardo really established himself as a fan favorite in Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries thanks to his down-to-earth, goofy attitude. He tended to be a breath of fresh air amongst the rest of F1's drama, which is honestly a necessity in such a cutthroat atmosphere.
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