Daniel Ricciardo Reveals How Pre-Race Tunes Make Him ‘Want to Be a Bad Person’ in F1

Published 10/02/2021, 10:03 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo before the race Pool via REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier


Before a race, the paddock is always abuzz. Last-minute strategy discussions, interviews, and even simply the drivers catching up before the race. However, somewhere in the noise, one can spot Daniel Ricciardo squatting to the ground with his headphones on, focused on the music. An intriguing sight; as Daniel bops his head, it makes one wonder, what on earth is he listening to?

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Daniel Ricciardo is always listening to music. Between red flags, stalled races, the driver’s parade, it would be rare to see the Honey Badger without his headphones on. Recently, Ricciardo explained the secrets behind what’s blasting in his headphones and why he follows this ritual before hitting the track.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 walks to his garage before qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Revealing his music of choice, the answer was unexpected. “Something that just like gets me loose and just kinda ready to go. Normally like hip hop is a bit of a go-to, because obviously there’s a beat and lyrically it’s kinda filthy sometimes, and that’s the state of mind I want to be in. I just want to be a bad person.”

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The self-acclaimed Honey Badger is known for being a sweetheart off the track; but when the visor goes down, Ricciardo is ruthless; now we know why. Ricciardo also talked about how just putting his headphones on helps him get into the right mentality before the race. ” A good way to just like shut switch off and shut out the noise, the hustle, and bustle of the grid. Yeah, everyone just kind of wants to grab you, and that’s the time to just zone in on the race.”

Daniel Ricciardo explains ‘filthy’ pre-race ritual

Music clearly has an important role to play for the McLaren driver. While he listens to the tunes off the track, Ricciardo tries to take the rhythm with him in the car as well.

Ricciardo gets a song stuck in his head to help him focus on the race.“The last song I play, I’ll maybe try and put it on repeat so I hear it two or three times so it’s in my head. So then, it lasts; the formation lap I’m still kind of singing it, so when we’re on the grid ready to go, I’ve still got it, and then I’m ready for the first lap which is the most intense.”

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Further, Ricciardo elucidates his mindset after that crucial first lap. “Once the chaos of the first lap and the field settles a bit… just establish a race rhythm for yourself.”

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo leads during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

With a lot of other thoughts going through the driver’s mind during a race- like tire management and switches on his steering wheel- the music helps Ricciardo when he gets a moment and takes a couple of breaths.

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Although Ricciardo shares his Three x 3 songs weekly, it’s good that he keeps his pre-race music top-secret. Although Daniel should probably listen to whatever it was he was listening to at Monza; the bop may have contributed to the race-winner mentality!

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Shreya Sanjeev

470 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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