Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo is hoping to overturn last year’s misfortunes when Melbourne hosts the Grand Prix this week.
Formula 1 driver Ricciardo is set to rev up the Albert Park competition, hoping to settle the score after last year’s disappointing disqualification. After being denied his podium finish due to fuel irregularities, the 25-year-old finished the season strongly, claiming three Grand Prix titles internationally.
Australian motorsport fans have high expectations for Red Bull’s number one driver. The local Grand Prix has not been won by an Australian since Alan Jones in 1980.
Former Red Bull driver and fellow Australian Mark Webber has been full of praise for the young star. “He’s got a huge amount of quality, and he’ll constantly evolve as he deals with being towards the front week-in, week-out. Once he finds his feet, the sky could be the limit.”
With the departure of Sebastian Vettel to rival Ferrari, Riccicardo is now in poll position to take Red Bull to checkered flag contention against heavy favourites Mercedes.
“If you look back at last year, for sure we’re in a better position,” he said on Thursday.
“I don’t think the times we put down in testing … have shown that yet but obviously we’re coming here this weekend with a lot more confidence and reliability.”
The Formula 1 season opening race has not been without controversy.
Racing team Sauber, lost a Victorian Supreme Court Appeal that would have allowed them to remove Giedo van der Garde from the driving roster. They are now reconsidering their options and tournament strategy.
World champion Fernando Alonso’s mysterious preparation crash – which saw him with a 20 year memory loss – has marred preparations with rumours of a driver boycott until the cause of the accident can be established. – Alice Boyd
Top photo from Dave Wilson’s Flickr photostream.