Quite sensationally, Daniel Ricciardo now has something in common with both Ed Sheeran and Jack Bauer – rather than selling out venues across the world or fighting crime in a distinctly Hollywood style, Ricciardo has followed the aforementioned duo to Top Gear’s “Star In A Reasonably Priced Car” feature. On the F1-driver exclusive leaderboard, the Aussie stunned the world last night when he headed Lewis Hamilton’s supposedly unbeatable benchmark of 1:42.9, by a full 0.7 seconds to become the fastest driver to ever complete a lap of the Top Gear test track in a Suzuki Liana.
As Jeremy Clarkson pointed out, “everyone loves when a Formula 1 driver comes to town,” and last night’s appearance was no different. While attempting to tame Top Gear’s famous figure of eight circuit is supposedly, just a-bit-of-fun, it does mark a rare occasion when F1 drivers are able to test themselves against each other in equal machinery. With Top Gear being the world’s leading motoring show, there have been plenty of headline drivers who have placed their names on the leaderboard over the years, with Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton filling the top three spaces until yesterday.
Hamilton’s second visit to the circuit saw him clock a 1:42.9 – a benchmark which seemed untouchable. However, Ricciardo managed to shave a full seven tenths from Hamilton’s time, to smash the lap record. What was even more impressive, was that Richard Hammond revealed that Ricciardo had managed to clock three consecutive times, all of which were identical. Perhaps most poignantly, Ricciardo beat former teammate Vettel’s time by 1.8 seconds.
Ultimately, the interview was not as compelling as Clarkson’s interrogation of Vettel in 2011, (which was one of my favorite Top Gear interviews,) but it didn’t need to be – the lap was box office entertainment. The first victory of 2015 has been notched up by the “unbelievable” Aussie.
Image Credit: "GP MONZA 2014" By Sara Cimino [CC-BY-2.0]