Aussie Daniel Ricciardo is celebrating his first Formula One victory in more than two years, dedicating his win to fallen competitor and friend Jules Bianchi.
Ricciardo broke away from teammate Max Verstappen and was gifted an opportunity as Lewis Hamilton was plagued with engine failure, to take out the Malaysian Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpar.
Sticking to tradition, the 27-year-old triumphantly celebrated with a “shoey” – by pouring champagne into his boot and taking a swig.
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He then called on his boss Christian Horner, Verstappen and Nico Rosberg to join him, to which they obliged.
The Perth-born star turned down offers from Ferrari earlier in the season, and committed his future to Red Bull – last standing on the podium at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo’s friend and competitor, France’s Jules Bianchi, passed away following a fatal crash in Japan last year.
“It was definitely a life-changing moment – the loss of Jules – as a competitor and a friend,” Ricciardo said. “That was hard to take. I would have loved to have won sooner, and dedicated this a bit sooner.
“Since that day it definitely changes you as a person for the better. I’ve become more appreciative of the things I have and the position I am in. Today I won a Formula One race. It’s another dream come true. So, this one is definitely for him.”
Verstappen provided fierce competition for his team mate, as they were head-to-head for second place prior to Hamilton’s retirement.
Hamilton had dominated the weekend, before suffering yet another engine failure, handing his first place position for the Red Bull to battle out for.
“To race Formula One like that, and to be inches from each other is fun,” Ricciardo added.
“You’re in the heat of battle, and you’re seeing red but at the same time you’ve got to smile. You know the guy that’s two metres to the right of you is having the same amount of fun. It’s a good shot of adrenaline.”