Daniel Ricciardo is an old-school Formula One driver. When you look at the 2020 driver lineup, there aren’t many big personalities: Valterri Bottas and Daniil Kyvat might be great drivers, for example, but they’re not big personalities, like the drivers of old used to be.
‘The Honey Badger’, however, is a ray of sunshine that cuts through the fog. The 31-year-old Perth native constantly has a smile on his face and loves joking around with his fellow drivers and teammates. Singularly responsible for introducing the ‘shoey’ to F1, Ricciardo is well-loved for his sunny personality as well as his driving chops.
This weekend’s Russian Grand Prix saw Ricciardo inadvertently share a much more valuable piece of Australian culture than drinking out of one’s footwear, however – one that has been brought into particular contrast by Lewis Hamilton’s exhibition of British culture in a similar vein.
Both Ricciardo and Hamilton – good mates off the track despite their fierce competition on it – copped time penalties over the weekend at Sochi. Ricciardo got 5secs for an illegal track re-entry after his wheels locked up and forced him off the circuit, and Hamilton got double that for illegal starts during practice. Hamilton was particularly unimpressed, claiming that Formula One is trying to stop him from matching Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix wins, ABC News reports.
But where Hamilton had a whinge, Ricciardo calmly took it on the chin, apologising to his team mid-race and simply saying “Ok, I’ll drive faster” – a dead cool and very Aussie way of dealing with things.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 27, 2020
To be fair on Hamilton, a 10sec penalty for something that happened before the race does sting a lot more than a clear-cut mistake during a race. As it stands, Hamilton still nabbed a third-place finish while Ricciardo came fifth. Hamilton remains comfortably on top of the standings with 205 points so far this season – Ricciardo sitting at sixth with 63 points (only a point behind Alexander Albon at #5 and two points behind Lando Norris at #4).
But Ricciardo’s positive and stoic response to what would for many other drivers be an infuriating piece of news shows how there’s still some value in that quintessentially old-fashioned Australian spirit of ‘taking it on the chin’.
F1 fans agree, with one commenting on Ricciardo’s Instagram that “Lewis should take notes from you mate”.
There are seven more races left in the 2020 F1 schedule – next up is the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany at the famous Nürburgring from October 9-11. While it looks unlikely that anyone will unseat Hamilton on top of the tally, fingers crossed Ricciardo can nab a podium in the races to come. He’s narrowly missed out three times, taking home 4th place in Great Britain, Belgium and Tuscany this year.