WATCH: Daniel Ricciardo Aces the NBA Challenge at COTA

Published 10/31/2021, 5:55 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 21, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Mike Blake


As America celebrated F1’s return to COTA after a two-year hiatus, the NBA marked its 75th anniversary. Giving the F1 drivers a chance at the basket, the NBA held a free throw challenge on the paddock. While most drivers missed the mark, one outshone the others; the grid’s very own, Daniel Ricciardo.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The drivers represented their teams, fighting for $20,000 for a charity of their choice. While teams like the victors, Aston Martin, heavily relied on either one teammate, Daniel held the Papaya flag himself. Ricciardo single-handedly scored 7 buckets out of the required 10.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Although he missed out on the team price by two points, the lone soldier topped the driver’s board. Confident in himself, Ricciardo even asked Chris Bosh if he wanted to sign him. “Is he doing management for basketball players or?”

Despite having aced the other drivers, ‘high-performance athlete’ Ricciardo knew he had more in him. “Maybe with a little bit more practice I could’ve got 10/10. But 7’s alright for today.” 

Daniel Ricciardo is hungry for more

The United States GP not only highlighted the Aussie’s skills at the hoop but also his growing comfort with the car he once tussled with. It was among time coming for Ricciardo and although he didn’t finish on the podium, the P5 result was important for the driver and McLaren.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Honey Badger’s battle with Carlos Sainz and his steely defense from his rival throughout the race was a phenomenal sight. However, the perfectionist wanted more in the free throw challenge, and he wanted much more from the weekend. “Yes, it definitely was a better weekend, it was a smoother weekend but there are still definitely moments in the weekend where I am still, ‘I know I can do better, I still make a few mistakes’.”

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 22, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during practice REUTERS/Mike Blake

Nonetheless, he won’t be beating himself up about it. “I am not always getting on top of the car, but it is coming, and it is still going to take a bit of time.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

With a triple header on the way and improving Ferrari machinery, Ricciardo and Norris have a mountain to climb before reaching the season’s end. Their P3 advantage hangs on to a thread of three points, and Ferrari is only approaching at great speed. Will the Papaya duo prove to be the MVPs in the thrilling midfield battle?

Watch this story: From Jimmy Kimmel to Ellen: Lewis Hamilton on Talk Shows

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shreya Sanjeev

627 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT