Daniel Ricciardo says he is still hungry for success as 'I haven't got my world title yet', offering the late Basketball player Kobe Bryant as an inspiration.
For pre-season testing, Ricciardo has adopted a purple helmet as a tribute to former LA Lakers NBA player Bryant who died in a helicopter crash in January. The helmet, in the colour of the Lakers, features the phrase 'Mamba Mentality' on the top and KB24 on the side.
“Unfortunately, I never did meet him,” said Ricciardo. “I honestly never saw him play live either, but I don’t know. For me, it was one of those ones where you – I guess every basketball player, everyone in the NBA was always going to do something and I think that’s expected.
“He touched people all around the world, but I think that when other disciplines of sport show the significance of what someone else did – I never played basketball, I can’t relate to that, but it doesn’t mean I can’t admire someone of that calibre and how he changed the game.
“Obviously, I was a fan of him and I guess what he represented, what he brought to the sport, but just as me trying to get to the top of my sport, I idolise him creating such a legacy, his work ethic and him standing out from the pack.”
Ricciardo continued by comparing the ease of being able to play certain sports on day to day basis while it is impossible to drive a Formula One car day in, day out. The Australian says that this could be why it takes longer for a Formula One driver to reach their peak than a sportsman competing elsewhere.
“If we drove our car every day, we’d probably reach our peak a lot sooner, but because I haven’t driven an F1 car in three months or something," said Ricciardo.
"I feel like you don’t ever drive enough to ever really be perfect at it, so I think, for as long as my career goes, as long as I’ve got the hunger in me to want to get better and learning, I’ll probably continue to do that."
Entering into his second season with the Renault team, the seven-time grand prix winner says that he is hungry to return to the top.
“Just because something worked five years ago, I don’t want to just still rely on only that now. It’s just keeping open minded," added Ricciardo.
“But I think, more than anything, I’m still hungry to win. I haven’t got my world title yet, so that in itself is going to keep driving me to find answers and, within the team, work harder.”
Driving the R.S.20 in the afternoon on Wednesday and the morning on Thursday, Ricciardo is pleased with his initial runs in the new car.
“My second lap of the day was a 19.0 or something. We were sub-20s very quickly and I think that was a bit of familiarity, getting into the car the second year now, but it certainly did have initial good impressions.”
Esteban Ocon takes over driving once again for Thursday afternoon, Renault again splitting the time between both drivers.
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