MIAMI — Daniel Ricciardo‘s smile has by no means seemed wider. With nation music blaring from the onboard audio system of his private watercraft, the eight-time grand prix winner joins ESPN out on the open water with solar on his pores and skin and sea water in his hair.
Over 300 metres from the shoreline, it’s one of many extra uncommon interview places for each driver and reporter, however there couldn’t be a extra becoming backdrop forward of System One’s inaugural race in Miami.
“Fairly cool, huh?” he tells ESPN as he shuts off the engine and we bob up and down within the turquoise waters. “It is a first for me as properly.”
After we discuss, there’s 5 days to go till race day and Ricciardo has spent the morning ripping his new trip round a small island in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.
It’s a mixture of work and play as he takes path from a movie crew on a ship, who’re capturing footage for an upcoming product launch for Sea-Doo — a producer of 300-brake-horsepower playthings for the water. Ricciardo is the brand new face of the model and in the present day is all about securing imagery of solar, sea and smiles in a postcard-perfect setting.
Ricciardo’s aquatic playground is a lagoon situated between Miami Seashore and the downtown space. The calm and clear waters have been closed off to the general public by the native sheriff in order that the McLaren driver can let unfastened, and to date he’s not been holding again.
After over a decade in System One, Ricciardo is not any stranger to adrenaline, however he’s clearly nonetheless buzzing on the subject of interview time halfway by means of the morning. His common trip — a 1000-brake-horsepower F1 automotive — topics his physique to 5 occasions the pressure of gravity by means of high-speed corners, however after doing it for 11 years he’s considerably used to that.
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Being on the water, nevertheless, is a brand new sort of thrill.
“I used to be constructing my confidence on the market, however I needed to inform myself, ‘Don’t get too assured’ as a result of I nonetheless don’t actually know what I’m doing!
“It positively scared me a bit. I feel it’s as a result of being on the water is slightly bit out of my consolation zone, however generally it’s simply because it’s actually quick.
“They are saying you’ll be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds on this factor. I’m glad I’m sporting gloves since you want each little bit of grip to carry on to it.
“I imply, it feels actually fast. I’m assuming it seems to be actually fast as properly?”
It does. Although he’s nonetheless getting used to the machine, Ricciardo instantly impressed the staff from Sea-Doo.
“I wasn’t anticipating him to nook that tough,” stated one as we watched Ricciardo from an island within the lagoon. The 32-year-old had the watercraft banked over and on the throttle as he got here inside inches of a buoy marking out a race monitor on the water.
Even so, Ricciardo insists he was holding again a bit — cautious of wounding himself forward of Sunday’s massive occasion.
“I’ve to remind myself that I’ve bought to race this weekend! I practically forgot about that on the market.”
That’s the place the nation music is available in — it helps to mellow the temper.
“I really feel prefer it’s a rustic music vibe out right here in the present day,” he says. “Music and a machine — it’s all I need in life!
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“If I might hearken to music after I raced in F1, I feel I might be sooner. I’d be the world champion that might have been with music!”
It begs the query, what could be the most effective music for an F1 race?
“I might begin with one thing heavier, whether or not it’s punk rock or some hip-hop after which because the race went on I might mellow it out to try to get myself within the zone.
“Possibly some silky digital music to maintain you in a little bit of rhythm.”
Away from F1, Ricciardo says he usually makes use of completely different types of motorised transport to let off steam. His final three-machine storage doesn’t embody an F1 automotive, however as a substitute a 110cc motocross bike, an off-road two-seater buggy and his new Sea-Doo, which he describes as a bike for the water.
Regardless of racing automobiles his complete profession, the two-wheeled world is more and more what pursuits him and can probably present his kicks when he lastly provides up racing.
“I used to be at all times fascinated by two wheels,” he says. “After I was rising up I used to be watching as a lot two-wheel racing as four-wheel, whether or not it was bike racing or grime bike racing or the freestyle motocross, I used to be so into it.
“Through the years, as a result of I’ve spent a lot time on 4 wheels, I’ve had extra curiosity in two wheels as a result of it’s nonetheless new and thrilling for me.
“That’s one thing I wish to do after I retire from F1 is to learn to get higher on these and on grime bikes.”
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So might he make a change to racing one thing apart from automobiles?
“No, not competitively. Only for enjoyable.
“My aggressive gene might be worn out after F1. I plan to burn all of the wicks in F1 and it’ll simply be for enjoyable after that.
“I’ll nonetheless get adrenaline from it, like days like in the present day, however I’ll look to get my kicks from the joys of it moderately than trying to be sooner than the man subsequent to me.”
With the solar reappearing from behind a cloud, the circumstances are proper for extra content material capturing and it’s time for Ricciardo to get again to “work”. The movie crew on the boat have extra photographs to safe and no want to have a journalist within the body with their celebrity.
Ricciardo fires his Sea-Doo again up, the nation music returns and he heads off for one more lap of the island.