Daniel Ricciardo will break Australian F1 record at Spanish Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo will set a new Australian record on Sunday when he lines up for the start of the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver will contest his 216th race in F1, surpassing the Australian record held by Mark Webber.

Ricciardo had a memorable F1 career, claiming eight race wins and 32 podiums in 11 years. Webber retired with nine race wins and 42 podiums.

From leaving his home in Western Australia at 17 to pursue his motorsport dream in Europe, Ricciardo told ABC Sport he was proud to have survived the cutthroat world of F1 for so long.

“I’m proud to have reached a number like 216 this weekend because getting into F1 is a struggle in itself, but staying here that long I think is something I can be proud of,” he said. declared.

“I was also a very young 17-year-old, so making this commitment when I wasn’t really sure if it was 100% sure what I really wanted to do or what I could do…was a big deal. .”

Daniel Ricciardo will contest his 216th F1 race this weekend. (Getty Images: Lars Baron)

Reflecting on his career ahead of his record-breaking weekend, Ricciardo said his maiden race win at the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix was still among his proudest moments.

“You’ve been chasing something for so long and you believe you can do it, but you really don’t know you can do it until you’ve done it,” he said.

“I was proud that I was able to execute everything I believed in, so it was a great moment.”

But the man widely known as Honey Badger doesn’t believe his best days are behind him.

The Australian has arguably had some of his biggest struggles since joining McLaren in 2021.

Even in his toughest moments, he won the Italian Grand Prix, giving McLaren its first win in nine years.

At the time, he said he was “never gone”, referring to those who thought he had lost his touch after struggling in his first season at McLaren.

“Not only did I get the podium, but I won at Monza after what was probably my toughest year in Formula 1,” he said.

“So if I can do that (win) in a season like this (2021), then podiums are definitely possible.

Daniel Ricciardo smiles as he looks aside
Ricciardo joined McLaren in 2021 after two seasons with Renault.(Provided)

He now combines that signature confidence with more than a decade of experience in the premier class of motorsport.

He told ABC Sport he always approaches every race the same way, but drives with more maturity and a cool head.

“I really believe I can have amazing performances coming up and that’s really why I keep doing this, because I still believe I can,” Ricciardo said.

“That’s what will allow me to stay in the sport longer.”

Ricciardo enters Sunday’s race 11th in the drivers standings, with 11 championship points.

He has finished in the top 10 in all five races so far this season – finishing sixth at the Australian Grand Prix.

In Spain this weekend, Ricciardo will be hoping to match or better his performance there last season, when he finished sixth and beat team-mate Lando Norris.

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