In a career full of big steps, Daniel Ricciardo's biggest came in 2011: the Australian was given the job of replacing each of our two race drivers in turn during Friday's first practice sessions at the Grands Prix, so the man from Perth was now a regular in the F1 paddock. It got even more serious just after the mid-season: starting from the British Grand Prix he got a full time drive with HRT, which definitely boosted his experience level. Could 2011 get any better? Answer yes, because a couple of weeks after the end of the season, Ricciardo was confirmed as a full time race driver for Toro Rosso in 2012.
A native of Perth, Red Bull junior Ricciardo made a name for himself when his racing career bought him to Europe. In 2008, he won the Formula Renault West European Cup and the British Formula 3 Championship in 2009.
His F3 success earned him a berth at the end-of-season F1 test for rookies and again Ricciardo duly delivered, leaving the Jerez shoot-out with far and away the best times, after driving for our sister team Red Bull. His consistent pace and intelligent feedback in those tests earned him the 'super-sub' role as test and reserve driver for Toro Rosso and Red Bull in 2010, while he also found time to take the silver medal position in the Renault 3.5 championship.