Last year, McLaren marked its first win on the Formula 1 tour in almost a decade with drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris behind the wheel. Ricciardo, the 33-year-old Australian known as the “Honey Badger,” recorded his first McLaren victory during the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, with Norris coming in second place.
Mergers & Acquisitions enacted the “shoey” by pulling off his boot, filling it with champagne and then drinking it on the podium to cheers from the roaring crowd. They were the only team to record a one-two finish during the 2021 Formula 1 season.
This year, the drivers are once again chasing that high. Norris, who is just 22 and F1’s rising talent, continues to show unlimited potential on track.
Off the track, the dynamic duo is more popular than ever. From starring in Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” series to appearances on “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” the athletes are embracing the limelight as the sport becomes a bonafide global sensation. Ricciardo is even developing a half-hour scripted series for Hulu set in the world of F1.
Recently, Ricciardo and Norris spoke with FN about all things racing, their growing celebrity and more. Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus.
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DANIEL RICCIARDO: “Riding a bike down a hill, getting off the training wheels. Two wheels. Top of the street. That would have been the first time I got a little rush.”
LANDO NORRIS: “What age were you when you got the training wheels off?
DR: “Three, I would guess.”
LN: “No way, really? My first true experience was when I was 4. I had this quad bike with a little engine and I was doing wheelies.”
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LN: “When you’re 7, 8 years old, you just do it for fun, you don’t actually realize exactly what you’re getting into. So I’d say more when I was 13, 14, 15. You get to the point of making a decision where you go into car racing and you spend more time away from school. Around that age was when I committed my life to being a racing driver.”
DR: “My dad raced when I was a kid, so I was growing up at the racetrack. I think very early on I was like, this is cool. I want to do this. That was when I was probably like 4 years old. But the reality didn’t set in until pretty much at the end of school when I realized I was good at nothing else.”
THERE ARE A RECORD-BREAKING 23 RACES ON THE 2022 FORMULA 1 CALENDAR. WHAT IS A DAY LIKE FOR YOU ON AND OFF THE TRACK?
DR: “It s pretty full on. We wake up and basically get into it. Start hydrating before the race, start drinking early, especially if it’s a hot race. Get to the track. There’s strategy meetings, media, pre-race briefings. Then I get into a warmup, a bit of stretching. Do the race, hopefully it goes well, hopefully spray some champagne. Do media after the race, do a post-race debrief. Get back to the hotel — if you’re lucky, shower, change your clothes. See you later. Thanks for coming.”
LN: “On an off day, I wake up around half 10, have breakfast in bed. Pretty much stay in bed until maybe lunchtime. Probably head to the golf course around 2 o’clock, when it starts to die down. Get home. Eat a bit more. Probably watch some more golf videos because I’ve had a really bad day of playing golf. Dinner with some friends. If I can do a day of nothing, that’s how it looks.”
WITH 21 DRIVERS IN THE F1 LINEUP, WHAT SETS YOU APART?
DR: “My looks, my tenacity.”
LN: “My name.” [laughs]
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DR: “There’s a generational gap. But our humor has verged over time and it’s a bit like Spice Girls — when ‘2 Become 1.’”
Mergers & Acquisitions?
DR: “Listening to music — it shuts out all the other noise. I really like just putting the headphones on. That helps me get into the zone.”
LN: “What happens when you can’t do that? When you’re in a race, you’re under pressure.”
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DR: “There are so many variables in the sport. There are just so many factors in having a good or a bad weekend. I don’t think there’s any other sport with so many other things to rely on.”
LN: “[Many] sports are solely about the athlete.”
DR: “Tennis, for example. It’s rare that the racket breaks and they lose the game because of a faulty racket or something like that. It’s normally the guy or the girl that wins a tennis game is the best that day. That’s not always the case for us.”
HOW HAS THE POPULARITY OF THE NETFLIX SHOW IMPACTED YOUR LIFE AND F1 AS A WHOLE?
LN: “I think it’s just attracted more fans.”
DR: “What we’ve seen is that everywhere we go now, we are recognized.”
LN: “Alright, big dog.” [laughs]
DR: “So, yeah, even if it’s not about us, I think people just know what Formula 1 is now. Because when I went to school, two people knew Formula 1 — literally me and my friend. They just didn’t know much about it. And now it’s a mainstream sport.”
NOW THAT YOU’RE OFTEN RECOGNIZED, HOW IMPORTANT IS FASHION AND STYLE TO YOU?
LN: “Most of my career earnings [are spent] on shoes. I got a case dedicated just for shoes. … I think it’s great that McLaren is partnering with K-Swiss, too. It’s something different, they bring a different style and you always want to look trendy especially in the paddock.”
WHEN WAS THE MOMENT YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO BECOME A RACING DRIVER?
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DR: Zach Bryan. American Heartbreak. That s the album I played most in the past month.'
LN: Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus.
AND DANIEL, EXPLAIN TO US WHAT A SHOEY IS.
DR: A shoey is where you pour an alcoholic beverage into the shoe that you re wearing or someone else is wearing and you knock it back.