Poor luck for native sons continues in Australia

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It should have been a joyous occasion. Daniel Ricciardo, the new face of Red Bull alongside four-time defending World Champion teammate Sebastian Vettel, had qualified and finished second in the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

After more than a decade of Mark Webber’s near misses and frequent bad luck in his home race, Ricciardo delivered the perfect story line switch with a storybook team debut.

Only it was too good.

The Australian was disqualified several hours after the race for exceeding the newly mandated maximum fuel flow rate.

It wiped out what had been an excellent first outing for Ricciardo in the lead Red Bull team after two full years with Toro Rosso.

It also continued a spell of unlucky results for Australians in their home Grand Prix at Melbourne.

Webber was only once able to better his best Australian GP finish set on his Grand Prix debut in 2002 with Minardi, when he finished fifth. A solitary fourth in 2012 didn’t have the same allure or appeal that the fifth with the underdog team did, as it was their first points-scoring finish since the 1999 European Grand Prix.

As it is, with Ricciardo now the sole native son waving the flag in Australia, here’s a rundown of the results since Webber’s 2002 debut.

  • 2014: Ricciardo (Red Bull) DQ
  • 2013: Webber (Red Bull) 6th, Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) DNF
  • 2012: Webber (Red Bull) 4th, Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 9th
  • 2011: Webber (Red Bull) 5th
  • 2010: Webber (Red Bull) 9th
  • 2009: Webber (Red Bull) 12th
  • 2008: Webber (Red Bull) DNF
  • 2007: Webber (Red Bull) 13th
  • 2006: Webber (Williams) DNF
  • 2005: Webber (Williams) 5th
  • 2004: Webber (Jaguar) DNF
  • 2003: Webber (Jaguar) DNF
  • 2002: Webber (Minardi) 5th

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.