Daniel Ricciardo is loving life in America ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, so much so he has adopted a whole new persona.
Daniel Ricciardo is absolutely loving his time in America ahead of the United States Grand Prix on Monday morning (AEDT).
The Australian wowed fans at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Texas when he showed up for the first day of the event sporting an over-the-top cowboy outfit.
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The 32-year-old showed off a black shirt with all the accessories you could expect from a Hollywood cowboy costume.
The ensemble included black jeans and a leather belt with some intricate embroidery.
The Akubra hat and confronting handlebar moustache look tied it all together.
And to complete his transformation into an American cowboy, Ricciardo has been determined to answer questions in interviews in a thick Texan accent.
When asked how excited he was to be back racing the US Grand Prix in Austin after the 2020 race was cancelled due to the pandemic, Ricciardo tried to do his best impression of Ricky Bobby, the NASCAR driver played by Will Ferrell in the 2006 movie Talladega Nights.
“Aw hell,” he began in a questionable Texan drawl. “Boogedy. Boogedy, boogedy.
“Well I’m overwhelmed with excitement because it’s been a long time since we’ve been here.”
Championship leader Max Verstappen was sharing the press conference and cringed at his former Red Bull teammate’s American impersonation.
“Oh my god,” Verstappen said.
But Ricciardo continued: “Max (Verstappen) is about to cry right next to me but by jingo, I really can’t contain my excitement more.”
He then briefly switched back to his Australian accent and said through laughter: “I don’t even know what the question was.
“It’s been 24 long and sad months without Austin in my life.”
Ricciardo’s commitment to adopting his alter ego as a Texan cowboy continued at an interview in the F1 paddock, which he successfully completed entirely in an American accent.
When asked if he thought he had a decent chance of performing well at the circuit, Ricciardo went full Texan.
“One does,” he replied with a cheeky smile.
“I think we can be a hell of a force because well, 2019 those papaya cars gave me a real headache in the race.
“I saw both of them in my mirrors for a lot of the time and I do believe their car is a step or two steps better than it was 24 months ago.
“So I’m now in that papaya car, the McLaren as we know it, and I feel joy in my heart to be able to drive it at force around the COTA circuit.”
Ricciardo has been making headlines all week as he toured the US ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix.
He revealed this week he previously had to reject legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady, to instead support the Buffalo Bills — despite meeting the record seven-time Super Bowl champion in recent years.
Ricciardo is also set to get behind the wheel of an iconic NASCAR touring car this weekend — the benefit of winning a bet with team boss Zak Brown.
Ricciardo had bet that he would get to drive Dale Earnhardt Sr’s 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo wheels if he won a Grand Prix in his first season since joining McLaren from Renault.
He did exactly that at the Italian Grand Prix.
Now Ricciardo will get his chance to drive the car as part of an exhibition this weekend.
“Well, hell, boogedy, I’m very excited Earnhardt was an absolute hero of mine,” he said.
“To be able to drive the 84 Earnhardt car. I believe he won five races in that car.
“It’s special. The livery is amazing. The Wrangler jeans, the blue and yellow, the big three on it.”
“So it’s real pinch me kind of moment right now.”
Ricciardo briefly broke character and admitted his Texan accent is a work in progress.
“I haven’t quite nailed the “wow” in American but I’m getting there,” he said.