There was a time, however, when the Australian’s time behind the wheel wasn’t all about foot-to-the-floor racing. Or that was his Dad’s wish, at least, when he chose a Toyota Hilux as his son’s first car, built for bumpy, off-road driving.
“You could do everything with a ‘ute’ as we call them,” Ricciardo tells CNN Sport on the eve of the first F1 race of the 2018 season, the Australian Grand Prix.
“It’s obviously not a fast car so I think Dad kept that in mind as well, that it was going to keep me out of trouble for my youth years of getting my license and all that.
“You can only do so many burn-outs in a Hilux. That kept me out of trouble.”
The car had its uses, though, specifically for exploring with his friends.
“I had dirt bikes, off-road bikes — and me and my friends liked going camping and just getting away.
“It was a new one so let’s say my Dad was very kind.”
Ricciardo is entering a crucial F1 season, his last of a five-year contract with Red Bull. Team principal Christian Horner says he is keen to extend the partnership with the Australian, who has recorded five race wins since joining from Toro Rosso in 2014.
Of those five wins, the most recent came in last year’s Azerbaijan GP. He’s twice finished third in the driver’s standings, and last year was fifth behind his Mercedes and Ferrari rivals.