“Earn the Parties” – Daniel Ricciardo Advises ‘Naive’ Self Ahead of 200th F1 Start at Spa

Published 08/29/2021, 5:40 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 29, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix REUTERS/Florion Goga


The Honey Badger starts his 200th Grand Prix at Spa this Sunday. Daniel Ricciardo, after having a troublesome season so far, will start the Belgian GP in the second row. Looking back at the 199 races behind him, Ricciardo is a much different driver today than the rookie who raced for HRT. Appreciating the growth and the experience, Ricciardo sent a message to his younger self.

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The 200 GP Daniel advised, “Enjoy the butterflies. Enjoy being naive. Enjoy the nerves, the pressure, people not knowing your name, all that stuff.” After having his troubles making it to the top of the podium and finding success, Ricciardo also reflected on the importance of the process. “If you want to stand on the top from day one, then there’s nothing else to look forward to.”

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He also tells young Danny that along with getting faster, the people in the sport are worth being acquainted with. “A lot of worldly people in this paddock; who you can laugh with, learn from, enjoy some moments with.” He stresses the importance of taking family and friends along the journey; their presence making it less taxing on the race weekends.

Ricciardo had admitted to being the nice guy in his karting days, shy and reserved. Today we know the Aussie for his insane overtaking skills on the track and his ferociously competitive spirit that is far from timid. Thus, we’ve seen the rise of the Honey Badger- sweet off the track, fearless, and predatory when in the car.

Moment of pride for Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel is now the 20th F1 driver in the sport’s history to reach this milestone. Speaking to the “young, naive Daniel,” a lot has changed for Ricciardo.

One of the most open and authentic guys on the paddock, Daniel is known for his funny antics and unapologetic behavior. If one were to look back at Daniel racing earlier in his career, and the person he is today, nothing has changed. As zealous and real as always, Ricciardo said, “You got to the dance in the first place, doing what you do, so don’t change too much.” 

While Danny Ric is the same, the person inside the monocoque evolved. Starting with a bottom-of-the-grid team, Daniel’s resilience despite the bad car caught Helmut Marko’s eye. Ricciardo then partnered four-time champion, Vettel, and outperformed him. Podium after podium, and 7 wins in hand, Daniel Ricciardo was a star when he left Red Bull.

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A dynamic career since, Daniel reminds himself, “build and learn from yourself but don’t forget what got you here.” 

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy -Third placed Daniel Ricciardo of Renault celebrates on the podium after the race Pool via Reuters/Miguel Medina

DR3’s debut season with McLaren has been bumpy but as he told young Daniel, “the parties will come…they’ll come in time. earn them; earn the parties, earn the drinks.”

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The parties are far from over for Daniel. With 200 races in his pocket, Ricciardo has a lot to look forward to. With a good P4 vantage at Spa, maybe it’s time for Ricciardo to put on his best shoe and then pour some champagne in it.

Watch this story: What Are Sprint Races & Where Will They Be Held?

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Shreya Sanjeev

340 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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