Daniel Ricciardo on the F1 season, his hopes for Red Bull and what the future holds for Ronda Rousey

Daniel Ricciardo, the Red Bull Racing driver, discusses the UFC’s Ronda Rousey, his season, what change he would like to see in Formula One and this weekend’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix during a conversation with Graham Caygill.

Daniel Ricciardo believes he has pushed his Red Bull car as much as he could this season. Christopher Pike / The National
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Daniel Ricciardo, the Red Bull Racing driver, discusses the UFC’s Ronda Rousey, his season, what change he would like to see in Formula One and this weekend’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix during a conversation with Graham Caygill.

On his race hopes

“Hopefully, we don’t start from the back!” he said, referring to starting from pit lane, because of penalties for an illegal wing, to finish fourth a year ago. “I think we can have a strong race. Here, it is always pretty key with the tyres. If you can stop them overheating then it can go a long way to helping you have a good race. So if we can manage that, like we did last year, then we can have a good race.”

Season review

“I think, personally, I have still been happy with how I have driven,” he said, reflecting on his eighth-place position in the drivers’ standings compared to his third-place finish, with three victories, a year ago. “Sure, there have been a few more races this year that have been not as great, not as special, but I don’t really feel too down about it.”

Taking their chances

The Red Bull has lacked the horsepower to fight Mercedes-GP and Ferrari at most tracks, but on slow-speed tracks and in the wet they have been quick: Ricciardo was third in Hungary, second in Singapore and led for a period in the rain in the United States. He said: “I think when we had our opportunities in Singapore and Budapest, races where it was ours for the taking, I think I was still maximising my chances.”

Raising his game

Asked if he fights harder when his car is more competitive, he said: “I don’t want to be like I try harder when I am fighting for a win. I am always trying as hard as I can but I do feel that, let’s say when the spotlight is on and this is your chance to become a hero, I do feel I shine and do very well in those high pressure situations. I enjoy that a lot.”

Engine situation

After threatening to quit the sport, Red Bull have confirmed they will race next season, but it is unclear which power package they will have, after their Renault engine failed to deliver and requests to use Mercedes or Ferrari engines were rejected. Ricciardo said: “Looking ahead to next year, we are curious to know what we got. Curious to know if we can be competitive.”

Power-sharing agreement

Asked what rule change he would make if he were in charge of F1, Ricciardo kept it short and blunt. He said: “Same powered engines. Just engines with the equivalent horsepower.”

Rousey

Ricciardo is a big UFC fan and, like much of the rest of the mixed-martial-arts world, was shocked when Ronda Rousey lost her UFC women’s bantamweight title to Holly Holm at UFC193 in Australia this month. He said: “I think she will come back a different fighter. She got rattled, in a way, manipulated from the weigh-in. Her attention was elsewhere and I just think Holly lured her in and used her experience. I don’t know Ronda personally but I am sure she will come back a different fighter from this and the rematch will be epic.”

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