F1 2015 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

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Daniel Ricciardo

Team: Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 3
Races: 19
Podiums: 2
Best Finish: 2nd (Singapore)
Fastest Laps: 3
Points: 92
Laps Led: 7
Championship Position: 8th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Daniel Ricciardo arguably faced the biggest challenge of anyone on the grid heading into 2015. Having been the breakout star of 2014 by taking three wins from under Mercedes’ nose, the affable Australian entered the new year with a lot to live up to.

Alas, it wasn’t to be in 2015. The issues with the Renault power unit hit Red Bull hard, limiting Ricciardo to just two podium finishes and a lowly eighth place in the drivers’ championship behind teammate Daniil Kvyat. On paper at least, it looks to have been a terrible year for Ricciardo.

In truth though, his championship score belies his on-track antics and fight this year. He was dropped to the back of the grid regularly due to power unit penalties, yet he was often able to battle back up into the points, such as in Austria and Italy.

Singapore was Ricciardo’s finest hour as he pushed Sebastian Vettel close for the race win in spite of the Renault power unit’s deficiencies, showing that the ‘Honey Badger’ still has the fire of 2014 burning brightly.

Once again, Ricciardo was a much-needed source of fun and humor in the paddock. Long may his Instagram antics continue to delight us.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

You can’t have favorites in the media world, but it is hard not to love Daniel Ricciardo. As such, I found myself disappointed that the pitfalls of reliability and poor power unit performance sabotaged what should have been a continuation of his breakout 2014 season and left Ricciardo resigned to eighth in points, with only two podiums a year after three wins and five other podiums.

Nevertheless, the frequently happy Australian kept smiling in the face of adversity all season. Singapore was his star turn of the year as he hoped to catch, but came up just shy, of ex-teammate and new Ferrari man Sebastian Vettel.

For a driver who received accolades for beating Vettel a year ago, seeing him get beat more frequently than not by Daniil Kvyat this year raised a few eyebrows. Perhaps Kvyat was more comfortable with the car.

Either way, both drivers were let down by reliability and poor performance; it spoke volumes that as the team’s attitude was questioned throughout the year, the drivers’ weren’t. In fact the saddest it seemed Ricciardo was all year was when he was told prior to Austin he couldn’t eat meat, then told our Will Buxton post-race, “I’ve had no red meat all week. Tonight I’m gonna eat until I feel pretty sad.”