In Formula One, a lot of drivers are known by various nicknames. Alain Prost is known as the Professor, Kimi Raikkonen is famously called The Iceman, Nigel Mansell is known as Il Leone. However, Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo is known by many as ‘The Honey Badger’.
For the uninitiated, the honey badger is typically located in Africa, southwest Asia and the Indian subcontinent. This mammal is famous for its show of strength, ferocity and fearlessness. Legend has it that once it bites something, it is almost impossible for it to let go.
Speaking to F1 Racing Magazine, Daniel Ricciardo explained, “It was my trainer at the time, Stuart Smith. He’d shown me a documentary on it, and said: ‘Dude this animal’s great!’ I thought it was awesome. Then he added that he thought I had a lot of honey badger qualities. And I thought, ‘yeah, I think I do!’ So it started from there. I think I’ve done well to keep it going.”
During his early Toro Rosso years, Daniel Ricciardo was well-known for his qualifying pace. However, once he got promoted to Red Bull, he turned up the wick with increased aggression in his overtakes. His style was likened to the honey badger, who is known to attack and defend itself.
Daniel Ricciardo told Nico Rosberg’s Beyond Victory podcast that the reason behind the change was the feeling of regret after each race.
He said, “When I adopted the Honey Badger, I made that pact to myself that I would rather try and fail to try and potentially crash than not try at all.”
Needless to say, channeling the honey badger did wonders for Daniel Ricciardo. This was because, his aggressive stance helped him win the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix for Red Bull. Admittedly, the Australian driver has had disastrous results when he tried to replicate the moves in the Renault.