Who is Daniel Ricciardo, why is he leaving Red Bull, and what is his best career results so far?

DANIEL Ricciardo has announced that he is leaving the Red Bull Formula One team after five seasons.

Formula One is currently taking its summer break after the Hungarian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton extend his lead at the top of the standings.

 Daniel Ricciardo is quitting Red Bull and moving to Renault

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Daniel Ricciardo is quitting Red Bull and moving to Renault

Who is Daniel Ricciardo?

Popularly known as 'The Honey Badger,' Daniel Joseph Ricciardo was born on July 1, 1989 in Perth, Western Australia.

After growing up in karting, Ricciardo received a schlorship with Formula BMW before moving to Renault in 2007.

 

Gaining a place on the Red Bull junior drivers' programme, he first tested an F1 car in December 2009 in Portugal. Another test followed in Sebastian Vettel's 2010 championship-winning RB6, the following year before he was promoted to Toro Rosso, the Red Bull junior team, reserve driver for '11.

 

At that season's British Grand Prix, Ricciardo was promoted to a full-time race seat with the HRT squad, partnering former Red Bull driver Vitantonio Liuzzi – who was regarded as a good benchmark.

He finished 19th on debut at Silverstone, and 27th overall in the championship, but impressed enough to be given a race-seat at Toro Rosso for the 2012 season.

 

In his first ever home grand prix, Ricciardo qualified 10th and finished in ninth place, scoring his first Formula 1 points.

The Toro Rosso STR7 proved to be uncompetitive, but a further eight points was enough to secure 18th in the final drivers' standings.

 Ricciardo has won seven grands prix, including in Monaco this year

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Ricciardo has won seven grands prix, including in Monaco this year

Another season at Toro Rosso in 2013 yielded 20 points and the prize of promotion to the senior Red Bull team for '14, after fellow Aussie Mark Webber announced his F1 retirement.

 

On his Red Bull debut, Ricciardo qualified second on the grid, and finished there, securing his first-ever F1 podium in the troublesome RB10, as the team battled to understand the new complex hybrid power units.

However, he was disqualified for a fuel-flow irregularity.

What are his best results?

At the Spanish Grand Prixm in 2014, he took his first legal podium in third, equalling the result in Monaco two weeks later.

The 2014 Canadian Grand Prix proved to be a memorable one for Ricciardo, as he secured his first-ever grand prix win after the Mercedes' of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg hit trouble.

Five further podiums, including wins in Hungary and Belgium secured Ricciardo third place in the standings.

He so comprehensively out-performed reigning champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel that the German quit to join Ferrari.

 

No-wins followed in 2015, as Red Bull struggled with an under powered car, before he picked up his first win in over two years at the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix, when Hamilton's engine went bang.

Ricciardo stormed to pole in Monaco that year, and but for a delayed pitstop would have won the race in the Principality.

 

A single win in 2017, in Baku was accompanied by eight other podiums, before he gained Monaco redemption in '18 by dominating the weekend. This was his second win of the season, following on from a storming comeback drive in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Why is he leaving Red Bull?

Ironically, team-mate Max Verstappen has 'Ricciardo-ed Ricciardo.' The Australian's performance in 2014 led to Vettel leaving the team, and it seems that Verstappen's strong results and favourability in the Milton Keynes factory has led to Ricciardo quitting.

 

A statement from team boss Christian Horner thanked Ricciardo for: "his dedication and the role he has played since joining the team in 2014, the highlights of course being the seven wins and the 29 podiums he has achieved so far with us."

Ricciardo's contract was up at Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season, and it was known that he had been in talks with Ferrari and Mercedes over a potential deal.

 Ricciardo finished fourth in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix

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Ricciardo finished fourth in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix

However, Mercedes opted to retain both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari more keen on promoting junior driver, Charles Leclerc.

Earlier in the season, Ricciardo said joining the Renault works team, describing the move as "having some appeal." 

It was expected that he would remain at Red Bull, but he has opted to join Renault, on a two-year deal, partnering Nico Hulkenberg.

What does it mean for the driver market?

The identity of Ricciardo's replacement is not yet clear. The logical candidates would be current Toro Rosso driver, Pierre Gasly or the man whose seat Ricciardo is taking, Carlos Sainz Jr.

Sainz is himself a Red Bull junior driver, who is currently 'on-loan' at Renault. It is expected that the Spanish driver will now join McLaren.

 

That means the future of current McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne is unclear. McLaren would be expected to retain Fernando Alonso, should he wish to stay, and Sainz would form an all Spanish line-up at the Woking-based team.

 

Frenchman Esteban Ocon had widely been tipped to join French manufacturer Renault, but is now expected to remain with the Force India squad.

DANIEL Ricciardo has announced that he is leaving the Red Bull Formula One team after five seasons.