Daniel Ricciardo is primarily known for his dive-bomb overtakes. However, he has also proven that he is adept at defence as well. He managed to prove it on two occasions, namely in a titanic battle with Michael Schumacher at the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix. The second occasion was the 2014 German Grand Prix, where he survived a massive onslaught from Fernando Alonso.
In Dan’s Diary, Ricciardo wrote that he felt that Alonso did not hold him in high regard until that race. During that race, the Spaniard emerged from the pit lane on fresh tires and latched onto the back of Ricciardo. Naturally, he made short work of the Australian, but never expected him to fight back almost immediately.
Alonso managed to pass around the hairpin. However, he ran wide and allowed Ricciardo to go wheel-to-wheel. Then, the Red Bull driver performed a switchback and tried to pass the Ferrari driver at the Mercedes corner.
What else did Daniel Ricciardo say?
Speaking about that epic race and dogfight, Daniel Ricciardo said, “We had this cat and mouse game after that for the next handful of laps. It was big, to show him that I was prepared to put up a fight on inferior tires while keeping it clean. He said some nice things about me afterwards, so I think he looked at me differently after that.”
The Australian driver also revealed that Michael Schumacher also praised him after the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix. Apparently, Schumacher approached Ricciardo after the race and complimented his defending skills.
This was because the two were battling for the final point in the last few laps. Ricciardo managed to hold off the 7-time world champion. Considering that 2012 was Ricciardo’s first full season in F1, the feat was all the more impressive. Not many can boast about successfully holding off Michael Schumacher during a race, so Ricciardo is in an elite club.