FORMER Newman College student Daniel Ricciardo looked comfortable in front of a high-profile crowd as he shared stories about his Formula One career at the TFS Corporation’s exclusive cocktail party last night.
Held at Blue HQ in Fremantle, former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist quizzed him about his loss in Monaco, win in Malaysia and his famous friends.
The boy from Duncraig, known for his million-dollar smile, said he was happy to be home after what had been his best year yet.
“It’s hard to deny 2014, that was my real breakthrough year in the sport,” he said.
“No one really knew me, people knew me for my cheesy smile, they didn’t really know me as a top tier driver and that was the season that really put me on the map.
“That was huge for me but I really thought this year I really improved some things and I feel the level of everyone is getting better every year.”
Alluding to the debacle of Monaco, where he started in pole position but unnecessary errors by his crew saw him lose to Lewis Hamilton, Ricciardo remained upbeat.
The 27-year-old said he realised he could not win every race and it was important to take the good moments, including his win in Malaysia.
“It’s emotional, that’s the way it goes sometimes,” he said.
“(This year) I only had one win as opposed to three and it could have been a few more if my mechanics didn’t …but it was fine.
“I race to be world champion, that’s my dream and that’s why I’m here, to do it.
“You try and just take the good moments – it was still a good and enjoying year.”
As for his now-famous “shoey” celebration, Ricciardo said he just wanted to break the ice during a moment that was often formal.
And the Red Bull driver said his friends in high places included Prince Harry.
“I don’t like to name drop but I have hung out with him,” he said with a smile.
“I’m quite good friends with his best friend so we’ve had drinks.
“He’s cool and tries to go under radar.
“He’s passionate about racing.”