HUNGARORING, July 24, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keilloh).- Daniel Ricciardo has won a lot of new admirers in 2014 with his consistently strong performances for Red Bull. This is due not least to his robust battling wheel-to-wheel with many of the sport’s most famous names, on show on several occasions.
In the Hungaroring ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix the Australian reflected on all of this and his approach in an on-track fight with a rival.
“As a racer, we all have a lot of pride in ourselves” he said. “You can’t get pushed around really in anything you do. I think as well because I smile a lot, I seem like a friendly guy and a lot of people if they see my actions, my face a lot of the time probably think I’m a little bit soft, I’m just nice, I wouldn’t hurt anyone.
"It’s nice for me to demonstrate this year that I can race, race hard and I’m definitely not intimidated by anyone or anything on the track.
“Coming into the season it’s what I wanted to do, results aside I wanted to be with the drivers that they expect to run at the front…(that) can race hard.”
Ricciardo also accepted that this was an area that some doubted about him last year, and that he has indeed improved on that front for this campaign.
“I think even when Red Bull signed me last year this was still a question mark for them” he said; “I’d had some good races but wasn’t really consistently showing a high level of aggression or commitment to overtaking or whatever it was. I think that’s definitely changed this year. It’s good, I’m enjoying it, I’m growing up.”
Ricciardo was also glad that Fernando Alonso had singled him out for special praise after their battle towards the end of the German race.
“When there’s respect among drivers in the paddock and you’ve had a good fight that’s clear and hard but fair then it’s always fun. Both drivers take satisfaction. Whether you win or lose the battle you still have a sense of satisfaction if you’ve been in a good fight.
Obviously to hear it from someone like Fernando, a world champion and let’s say a leader of the sport in a way, it’s nice.
“It’s nice to know that what I’ve learnt in my years has served me well; the race craft I’ve learnt and now put to work has been acknowledged and respected. It’s cool. It makes me want to have more battles.”