Ricciardo 'proud' of F1 impact even if he expected a title or three!

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Daniel Ricciardo remains "proud" of his impact in Formula 1 even if he expected to have a world title... or three!

The Australian is, without doubt, one of the most popular figures on the grid and this year marks his 10th season on the grid, after debuting with HRT at the 2011 British Grand Prix.

In that time, Ricciardo has made his way through the Red Bull program, won seven Grands Prix and finished third in the championship twice, earning a reputation as one of the top drivers on the grid.

"It’s certainly what I aimed to have done, but if I’m really honest with you, after my year in 2014, if I then look at 2020, I would have expected a world title or three so, from 2014 onwards, I’m certainly not surprised if anything I’m a little bit underwhelmed," he said in an interview with F1's Will Buxton.

"But yeah, from 2011 to put myself here now, and to know maybe the impact I’ve had on the sport and where I’ve put myself, for sure I’m happy and proud but I’m certainly not there yet and not done."

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Indeed, while his results have been limited by the dominance of Mercedes, Ricciardo has become better known for his personality, beaming smile and a rather strange podium celebration.

"I have yeah, and that’s something I’m proud of because it’s all been - a common word you say these days - organic in many ways," he said when asked if he has learnt to accept himself.

"It’s something I didn’t feel I had to try and create you know, it happens naturally through the process of experience and understanding myself and who I am in the sport and life.

"Fortunately, my personality has come across quite well in a sport where, 10 years ago, you know, [it was harder to] let your personality shine.

"I always felt F1 was like very rigid, business-like format where you just rock up to work and nod your head, do your job and that’s it, so to be able to have brought some charisma into the sport, I mean I look back even things like the ‘shoey’, at the time it’s like ‘I’m an idiot for doing this’ but now I feel happy to have brought something new into the sport.

"And again not forced, just trying, not to be the class clown or anything, it’s just me having fun and that’s important," he added.

"You know as much as this is a job and a career, you also need to have fun in anything you do so, the way I’m still able to have fun at the top of my profession, that’ll keep me in the sport for longer, I’ll keep enjoying for more years."

Behind that nice-guy attitude though, Ricciardo has proven he is also one of the fiercest racers on the track, and that approach was actually born from trying to capitalise on rivals considering him a bit soft.

"Yea, that’s been a positive," he said.

"At first, I felt other competitors would take advantage of me being the nice guy, especially when I got into F1, it was like ‘oh he’s too nice, we can bully him on the track’ and I think they did for the first six months I had in F1, and I felt like that was a reputation which was going to stay with me unless I adapted.

"So it was really 2014 when I felt like people were saying ‘ah he’s got a fast car now but he’s still a soft touch’ and I could play to that and surprise them on track, I mean these Danny overtakes, these lunges, I really though caught everyone by surprise, and that was very powerful for me.

"Even still now, I think people still take me, on track not so much, but off track, they can still play around but I know what I’m capable of, even now I’m smiling but inside I’m quietly killing with a smile, it’s like, it’s good!"