Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo is undoubtedly going to be one of the drivers to watch out for in Formula One 2021 season. The 31-year-old finished an impressive 5th in the drivers' standings last year with Renault and signed a 3-year contract with McLaren ahead of 2021. The stylish driver impressed in his first outing for Mercedes-powered team during the recently concluded pre-season testing in Bahrain. In a conversation with Hypebeast, Ricciardo opened up about the upcoming season and revealed his goals and targets for his debut campaign with McLaren.
From fanboy to driving for McLaren - Daniel's surreal journey
Daniel Ricciardo has had an illustrious career in Formula One. The Australian made his debut in 2011 and has since been one of the most-loved drivers since then. The driver, who will be entering his 11th season in F1 this year, has 7 Grand Pix victories and 31 podium appearances to his name.
Reflecting on his initial few months at McLaren so far, Daniel said, "It’s been awesome. Obviously I grew up a fan of Formula 1 and McLaren has such a presence in the sport, and it has for so long, I was always very familiar with the F1 team and always had a bit of admiration for it, so to be here is pretty surreal. "
The 31-year-old added that he is legit just a fan of the brand McLaren first and foremost. He said that the organization they’ve got here and the whole structure they’ve got in place for the Formula 1 team now is really good. Ricciardo added that it’s been an awesome few months, and while they have had no races yet, the introduction has been really good.
Lando and Ricciardo - What a combo!
Alongside Daniel, it will be youngster Lando Norris who will race for McLaren, making it one of the most exciting driver line-up for the upcoming season. While both the drivers are known for their fearless approach on the tracks, they are also quite famous for their joyful personalities off the tracks.
Commenting on the rivalry between the two teammates, Ricciardo said, "I think there definitely will be a good competitive rivalry. There’s certainly some similarities between us. We love our jobs, and I guess we’re not afraid to show it, and I think that’s strong and important, but for the fans — particularly of McLaren — if I can make people laugh and enjoy watching me that’s all well and good, but first and foremost I want to be here to get the results and I want to try push this team to the next step."
The Australian went on to say that he has not joined the team to be this TV special. He stated that he and Lando are completely focused on doing the right things on track and if everything is going well there, they will enjoy the other aspects as well and it will be a win-win then.
The McLaren driver said that he is really excited for his debut season with his new team. He stated that he really wants to leave an impact with a strong showing in 2021. Daniel said, "A show on a team debut would be pretty much an ideal scenario to say the least, but the thing is, with that you set the bar so high from day one, it’s like, where do you go from there? But of course, I’m not going to hold back. I think it’s another kind of chapter in my career, but I don’t want it to be just another chapter. I want this to really be something with purpose and strong intent."
Ricciardo will make his much-awaited debut in Bahrain GP, scheduled to take place on March 28. The 31-year-old, who registered 2 podium finishes last season, will hope to go a step ahead this season and lose challenge to Mercedes and Red Bull in a faster McLaren car.