Daniel Ricciardo – 26
At the end of 2010, Toro Rosso announced that Australian Daniel Ricciardo (pronounced ‘Ricardo’) would be driving for them in Friday practices, with the aim of evaluating him. At the end of the 2011 season – or more likely the middle – he would replace one of the current members of the team.
So he began taking to the track at every venue, alternating between Buemi’s and Alguersuari’s cars, until the Valencia Grand Prix. And then Red Bull did a deal with the Hispania racing team. The team got lots of money from Red Bull and a new driver who has replaced Narain Karthikeyan. It was rather a surprise, and I could not believe it at first. However, since then Daniel has driven at Silverstone, the Nurburgring and the Hungaroring. He qualified 24th in the first race, which immediately made people call for the return of Narain. He stayed at the back and finished last of the backmarkers. In Germany, Daniel qualified 24th but was promoted to 23rd after a 5-place grid penalty for Liuzzi, and 22nd after Buemi was excluded from qualifying. He again finished 19th, ahead of Karun Chandhok.
His best race so far has come in Hungary. Qualifying 22nd after a poor showing from D’Ambrosio and a penalty from Buemi, he finished 18th in the race ahead of Liuzzi and D’Ambrosio. His finishing ahead of Liuzzi has immediately shown him in a new light. Liuzzi was one of those who had switched to inters and had to switch back again.
Worst qualifying: 24
Best qualifying: 22
Worst finish: 19
Best finish: 18
Average difference: 4
Laps completed: 172/182 (94%)
Average race position: 20.54 (Best: 20.1 Germany; Worst: 21.0 Britain)