What a difference a year makes. Australian Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo is being hounded by fans and media ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix after debuting relatively unknown in 2014.
Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.
Last year he was the apprentice, but with three Grand Prix titles under his belt Ricciardo has returned the master.
He may be revered internationally as the rising star of Formula One, but Ricciardo has told SBS he's still a small town Australian-Italian boy from WA.
"We eat a lot of pasta. Always a lot of family gatherings are very Italian, very big, lots of food, lots of loud talking," he said.
Last month, Ricciardo travelled to his father's birth place – Sicily - to test out a classic Alfa Romeo on the historic Targa Florio course.
He says it was an incredible experience.
"I'd never driven a vintage racing car like that, I have a lot of respect for what the guys did back in the day definitely."
"We eat a lot of pasta. Always a lot of family gatherings are very Italian, very big, lots of food, lots of loud talking."
Ricciardo debuted for Inifiniti Red Bull last year, under the shadow of his highly successful teammate Sebastian Vettel. He emerged as the star of the season, winning the only three titles not captured by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Vettel is now driving for the competition but Ricciardo expects to keep things civil.
"I think we fought hard but always left each other a bit of room last year and I don't think that will change at all."
Ticket sales for the Australian Grand Prix are up by two million dollars on last year, many attribute that to Ricciardo and his gutsy style of racing.
Ricciardo says you have to take every opportunity when it arises on and off the track.
"You definitely gotta go for it, you won't know if you don't try."