Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo has become the first Australian in five years to win a prestigious Laureus award, taking out the breakthrough of the year title in Shanghai this week.
The 25-year-old was honoured for his stellar debut season with Red Bull Racing in 2014, in which he claimed three grand prix victories plus five podium finishes.
He was the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race and ended the year third in the overall driver’s championship.
Ricciardo is in Bahrain for Sunday’s grand prix and could not be at Shanghai’s Grand Theatre, but in a video message said it was a privilege to earn the award.
“2014 is a year I’ll remember for a long time – it was definitely a breakthrough in my mind as well,” he said.
“Standing on the top step of the podium a few times was the icing on the cake.”
Bahrain a chance to improve
Daniel Ricciardo says he’s cautiously optimistic that his standings will improve and hopes the Bahrain race will give him that chance.
Ricciardo struggled with a poor start last week in the Chinese Grand Prix and finished ninth at the flag.
“It’s frustrating,” he said of the race.
“We struggled to get by.
“We underachieved, but hopefully we find something in the next few days and have a better result in Bahrain.”
Ricciardo has already used three of the four engines allocated to him for the season, and is fighting to get his standing back after a poor start.