Ton up for Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo
This weekend's German Grand Prix marks a special occasion for Daniel Ricciardo - his 100th race.
The popular Australian currently sits third in the 2016 driver’s championship after finishing third in Hungary last time out, his 12th career podium, all of them coming with Red Bull Racing.
Having spent time as Toro Rosso’s test driver, Ricciardo’s F1 career began midway through the 2011 season when Ricciardo was drafted into struggling HRT, replacing Indian Narain Karthikeyan for the British Grand Prix.
With a poor car, Ricciardo still managed to impress, finishing eight of the 11 races he competed in. His form was strong enough to warrant a call-up to the Toro Rosso team for 2012.
In another difficult car, Ricciardo lost out to team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne overall, but scored points on his debut for the team with a ninth place at his home Grand Prix in Australia.
The following season saw him double his points tally from the year before with seven points-scoring finishes, not only beating Vergne but also securing a place at Red Bull Racing, replacing Mark Webber. His performances in qualifying also stood out as he dragged the STR8 into the top 10 on several occasions.
It was his first season at Tilbrook that saw his famous smile burst into the big leagues. Even though he was disqualified from his home race, though he stood on the podium before his punishment was handed down, Ricciardo finally got his first podium finish in Spain before taking an unexpected victory with a late charge in Canada.
He doubled his winning tally at Hungary just before the summer break and continued his excellent form afterwards too, winning in Belgium on his way to third place in the standings, after the dominant Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Most notably, Ricciardo dominated four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, scoring 61 more points than the German, who announced he’d be leaving for Ferrari at the end of the year.
Following Vettel’s departure, Red Bull struggled in 2015. Ricciardo, now partnered with Russian Daniil Kvyat, was beaten by his team-mate for the first time since 2012 by three points, but stood on the podium twice.
Ricciardo looks back on form again in 2016, and should have two race wins to his name this season but for some huge errors from the Red Bull pitwall costing him in Spain and Monaco. Partnered alongside teenage sensation Max Verstappen, Ricciardo has been given a boost in the arm and has shown some of his best racing to date. Picking up three podiums this year, including a third place in his 99th race, he sits third again behind the Mercedes cars.
The German Grand Prix is his 100th race, but it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for him. Finishing 19th in the HRT, he failed to score points in either outing in the Toro Rosso and could only finish sixth in 2014.