Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was named as the ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ at last night’s prestigious Laureus Word Sports Awards in Shanghai following his impressive 2014 season in Formula 1.
Ricciardo enjoyed a sensational year with Red Bull in 2014, claiming three race wins en route to third place in the drivers’ championship as he outclassed four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Although the start to the 2015 season has not been quite as successful for Ricciardo, the Australian picked up his first silverware of the new year by winning the award in Shanghai last night.
“It’s a proud moment in my career,” Ricciardo said. “The year was awesome, one of those years which I think was as good as it could get without actually winning a title.
“So I felt like every race weekend I left knowing I had put everything on the track and didn’t really feel like I was underachieving anything, and obviously it came with a lot of podiums and the three victories. Definitely a breakthrough in my career.”
Ricciardo fended off competition from Marin Cilic (tennis), Mario Gotze (soccer), James Rodriguez (soccer), Mikaela Shiffrin (skiing) and the Swiss Davis Cup team (tennis) to win the award.
Lewis Hamilton had been in contention for the Sportsman of the Year award, but lost out to tennis player Novak Djokovic. Mercedes also lost the Team of the Year award to Germany’s FIFA World Cup squad which won the tournament in 2014.
In Bahrain this weekend, Ricciardo’s expectations remain low after a difficult start to the season that has seen him score just 11 points.
“It sounded pretty good, finishing the first three [races] in the points, but obviously we hope for more at this stage,” Ricciardo said. “Look, we’re trying to do what we can, that’s for sure. There is progress being made. Still, obviously, we’re wanting more each race.
“Obviously there’s not much, updates-wise, that can happen in a week but from myself and the team as well, we still know there’s more potential in what we’ve got for now, and I think we can definitely try to grab that this weekend.”