Ricciardo: Death of "hero" Earnhardt impacted me hugely

Daniel Ricciardo says the death of "hero" Dale Earnhardt Sr impacted him hugely, and that he wanted to use the NASCAR legend's racing approach as inspiration in Formula 1

Ricciardo: Death of "hero" Earnhardt impacted me hugely

Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of Earnhardt's death at the 2001 Daytona 500, and has sparked a number of tributes and recollections of the seven-time NASCAR champion's life and career.

McLaren F1 driver Ricciardo has previously spoken about the influence Earnhardt had on his racing career, even prompting him to use #3 as his permanent F1 number as a tribute.

Asked about his memories of Earnhardt, Ricciardo recalled how strongly he remembered hearing about his death and the sadness he felt.

"I remember the race 20 years ago vividly," Ricciardo said.

"My reaction to the news, I was crying. I called my friend at the time, Stephen, we raced go-karts together, and he was also a big Earnhardt fan.

"I called him as soon as I saw the news, and we just basically cried on the phone together. He was a hero, for sure."

Ricciardo explained how the decision to use Earnhardt's #3 from 2014 was meant to encourage him to adopt the mentality of 'The Intimidator' and make a statement with his hard on-track moves.

"It was really in 2014 when I took on the number three, I also had it in the back of my mind to take on The Intimidator - and obviously my version of that was 'The Honey Badger'," Ricciardo said.

"But I felt it was really my year to make a bit of a statement, to be the guy that was not afraid to put on a big move, to race hard.

"I didn't feel I'd quite had that yet. And that first year with Red Bull was my chance to really make that statement and to earn that reputation.

"For sure part of that was on the back of Earnhardt and how he inspired me."

PLUS: How Earnhardt's death changed American motorsport

Ricciardo's first year using #3 would prove to be his breakout season in F1 as he scored three victories for Red Bull en route to third place in the drivers' championship.

Ricciardo received an open invite from Earnhardt's son, Dale Jr, to race for the JR Motorsports Xfinity NASCAR team back in 2016, but the Australian said he would only look to do so after his F1 career was over.

shares
comments
Haas and Williams linked to BWT F1 sponsor move
Previous article

Haas and Williams linked to BWT F1 sponsor move

Next article

Why Alpine faces the same junior problem as Ferrari

Why Alpine faces the same junior problem as Ferrari
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Plus

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022