Netflix’s Drive to Survive ‘adds spice’ to F1 rivalries: Daniel Ricciardo

Talking points

  • Daniel Ricciardo recorded a season best sixth placing at the Australian Grand Prix on the weekend.
  • He now sits in 11th in the world drivers’ championships on eight points. 

Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says the makers of Netflix documentary Drive to Survive have emphasised rivalries among drivers in an attempt to dramatise the wildly successful series after what he said was a true-to-life opening season.

The Netflix series has been credited with driving legions of new fans to F1, culminating in record attendance of almost 420,000 people at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, at which Ricciardo finished sixth, behind his McLaren teammate Lando Norris.

Daniel Ricciardo spruiks his commercial deal with St Hugo wines at the W Hotel in Melbourne on Monday. The F1 driver says he prefers red wine over the traditional F1 champagne.Credit:Penny Stephens

The fourth season of the show portrays animosity between Norris and Ricciardo, but other drivers on the circuit, including reigning world champion Max Verstappen, say the pair are friendly with each other.

“I think it’s been accurate enough,” Ricciardo told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’d say the first season was very authentic … it was very raw and it was very successful.

“I think then they certainly tried to emphasise a few rivalries, which I don’t think necessarily they always needed to, so they probably just put a little bit of … a little bit of spice on the top of it.”

“They would kind of make a few rivalries into more like enemies where it was just a competition rivalry, but it wasn’t an enemy,” he said. “So, sometimes they probably did a little bit too much with it.”

Overall, Ricciardo said, Drive to Survive had been good for the sport of F1.

“It’s given people a chance to see us underneath the helmet and get into a little bit of our family life, personal life, and I think that’s also something very easily that people can get behind,” he said.

Ricciardo said he is happy with his portrayal as an Aussie larrikin in the documentary series, but he thought they would censor his language.

“I didn’t think that they would put all my c-bombs in there, but they did,” he said. “I’m like, oh man, Mum has to watch this. It’s funny, it’s a word I would never say in front of Mum.

“That is me, not necessarily always the swearing, but the kind of happy-go-lucky person.”

Ricciardo’s sixth place on Sunday, his best result of the season, could have been even better if the race was a little longer, he said.

The Australian was stuck behind his teammate Norris for most of the 58-lap race, but was instructed not to put his teammate under pressure on the final lap of the Albert Park circuit to ensure both cars scored McLaren’s first championship points of the year.

“I think if there was a few more laps, I think it was probably going to happen because he was, let’s say, nursing an issue,” Ricciardo said.

Ricciardo said fifth place “would have been nice”, but he was happy with the directions from his team.

“It wasn’t like I was really holding back, so if they were like ‘start driving slow on the straights to not overtake him’, then I would have been like ‘guys come on, that’s just silly’, but it wasn’t like that. So it was fine,” he said.

“I think they handled it well and also the start of the season has been pretty grim for us,” he said. “So to also risk something on the last lap with your teammate, I think they made the right call, and I was okay with it.”

Ricciardo said he celebrated last night with a glass of shiraz after partnering with winery St Hugo to make a wine decanter shaped like a shoe. He said he prefers red wine over the traditional F1 champagne.

Daniel Ricciardo placed sixth at the grand prix on the weekend.Credit:Eddie Jim

“I think everyone’s like ‘you guys must love champagne’,” he said. “I think spraying it is awesome, but, yeah, to drink it, I’m certainly more of a grape juice kind of person.”

Ricciardo said the decanter was a nod to a shoey, his trademark celebratory drink from his racing shoe.

”The kind of irony is a shoey is obviously, I mean, it’s not great is it?,” he said. “You are drinking from a dirty shoe, but to put that into something quite elegant and beautiful. I think that’s where it’s got a spin.”

Ricciardo said he is “definitely a glass-half-full kind of person” and he is positive about his and McLaren’s chances this year despite a patchy start to the season.

“After winning last year, I honestly think anything’s possible,” he said. “We are like still a bit off for sure, but I would definitely not write off this year. So I think I can win [a grand prix] this year.”

Ricciardo said the changes to the Albert Park circuit have made the track “a little better”, but the track could be further improved next year.

“There was going to be four DRS [drag reduction system] zones and they removed one after Friday and I think if they kept it, it probably would have made [for] a bit more overtaking,” he said. “If they want more, maybe that’s a little simple solution for next year.”

Ricciardo said the race in Saudi Arabia was a “crazy race” which set the bar pretty high and there was only so much that could be done at Albert Park.

“I think they did well with what they had because it is also a street circuit, so they can’t do so much like moving the park around,” he said.

Ricciardo now sits in 11th position in the world drivers’ championships on eight points.

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