F1 2014 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

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Daniel Ricciardo

Team: Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 3
Races: 19
Wins: 3
Podiums (excluding wins): 5
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 238
Laps Led: 72
Championship Position: 3rd

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

$10 says you’re smiling when reading this article about Daniel Ricciardo. What a great year for the amiable Australian. Oozing positivity, his season got off to a bittersweet start on home soil in Australia when, after finishing on the podium, he was disqualified. Another setback came in Malaysia with a retirement, but he eventually scored his first top-three finish in Spain.

The breakthrough came in Canada, though, when Ricciardo took full advantage of Mercedes’ technical woes to claim his maiden grand prix victory. As the chasing pack consisting of Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa dithered, Dan was the man to grab the race by the throat and claim a memorable first win.

Ricciardo’s second in Hungary was of the same ilk, capitalizing on the weather to passing both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso late on to win the race, saying: “That’s how you do it, ladies” over the radio as he swept past. Yet again at Spa, he won when the Mercedes drivers clashed, finishing the year with three wins.

All three were opportunistic victories, but all were taken in superb fashion. Few could have predicted Ricciardo enjoying such an incredible debut year with Red Bull, and even fewer foresaw him outclassing Sebastian Vettel. This was clear yet again at the final race in Abu Dhabi, when, after being excluded from qualifying, Ricciardo stormed to fourth place. Vettel could only finish eighth.

Heading into 2015, Ricciardo will step up as team leader as Vettel moves to Ferrari, but if 2014 is anything to go by, Red Bull’s future is in very safe hands. It’s tough to say whether Ricciardo or Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was the breakout start of the season – my call would be Dan, though.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

I think Daniel Ricciardo managed to get the best out of both what he’d seen from Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in his maiden season at Red Bull in order to maximize the year the way he did, and end a deserved third in the World Championship.

Being Australian, he was always going to compare favorably to Webber and being his replacement, he was always going to be judged against what Webber did. But like his predecessor, Ricciardo was always a candid interview, yet remained with a steel focus on the job at hand. Webber’s Twitter handle is @AussieGrit for a reason, and Ricciardo’s oughta be @SmileyGrit if no one’s secured it…

Much like Vettel has done throughout the tenure of his Red Bull career, Ricciardo became something of an assassin once actually in the car, while smiling so much before and afterwards. The pace he’d shown in his Toro Rosso days translated, but no one could have foreseen Ricciardo smashing Vettel in the ways he did this year.

He seized all three opportunities available to him when it came to winning races. He was a passing superstar on the days he didn’t qualify well, or started poorly off the line. Most of all, he managed to make four-time champion Vettel look ordinary, and that was perhaps his greatest achievement in a popular, breakout season.

Sports imitates art with Tyler Bereman’s Red Bull Imagination course

Red Bull Imagination Bereman
Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Content Pool
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This past weekend riders took on the Red Bull Imagination, a one-of-a-kind event conceived by Tyler Bereman – an event that blended art, imagination, and sports.

In its third year, Red Bull Imagination opened to the public for the first-time, inviting fans to experience a more personal and creative side of the riders up close and personal.

As the event elevates its stature, the course gets tougher. The jumps get higher and the competition stouter. This year’s course took inspiration from a skatepark, honoring other adrenaline-laced pastimes and competitions.

“There’s a ton of inspiration from other action sports,” Bereman told Red Bull writer Eric Shirk as he geared up for the event.

MORE: Trystan Hart wins Red Bull Tennessee Knockout 

Bereman was the leading force in the creation of this event and the winner of its inaugural running. In 2022, Bereman had to settle for second with Axell Hodges claiming victory on the largest freeride course created uniquely for the Red Bull Imagination.

Unlike other courses, Bereman gave designer Jason Baker the liberty to create obstacles and jumps as he went. And this was one of the components that helped the course imitate art.

Baker’s background in track design comes from Supercross. In that sport, he had to follow strict guidelines and build the course to a specific length and distance. From the building of the course through the final event, Bereman’s philosophy was to give every person involved, from creators to riders, fans and beyond, the chance to express themselves.

He wanted the sport to bridge the valley between racing and art.

Tyler Bereman uses one of Red Bull Imagination’s unique jumps. Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool

Hodges scored a 98 on the course and edged Bereman by two points. Both riders used the vast variety of jumps to spend a maximum amount of time airborne. Hodges’s first run included nearly every available obstacle including a 180-foot jump before backflipping over the main road.

The riders were able to secure high point totals on their first runs. Then, the wind picked up ahead of Round 2. Christian Dresser and Guillem Navas were able to improve their scores on the second run by creating new lines on the course and displaying tricks that did not need the amount of hangtime as earlier runs. They were the only riders to improve from run one to run two.

With first and second secured with their early runs, Hodge and Bereman teamed up to use their time jointly to race parallel lines and create tandem hits. The two competitors met at the center of the course atop the Fasthouse feature and revved their engines in an embrace.

Julien Vanstippen rounded out the podium with a final score of 92; his run included a landing of a 130-foot super flip.