When Daniel Ricciardo isn’t learning the ropes in F1, in the role of official Red Bull reserve driver, he’s busy trying to win a championship of his own. This weekend the 2009 British F3 champion impressed again; winning at Hockenheim in the World Series by Renault and maintaining his second place in the championship. With rounds at Silverstone and Barcelona to come, he’s in with a great chance of finishing his rookie season as champion. It’s serious stuff: while most people think of GP2 as the route into F1, the good ones sometimes skip that stage – just ask Sebastian Vettel or Robert Kubica.
This weekend he's back on F1 duty at Monza. And while Daniel is more Australian than Merv Hughes’ Moustache, his Italian ancestry will show through – expect him to be attending plenty of dinners with the sponsors. But who would be the on the guest list if Dan had carte blanche?
“Travis is the first person that comes to mind. I know it sounds awful, because he’s such a big icon these days, and I sound like I’m just following the herd, but the truth is I first saw him, on a video, I reckon when I was about nine years old. On one of the Crusty Demon videos; I think Crusty Demon number four. There was something about him that just caught my attention and I just followed him across the FMX scene – and now he’s got a strong link with Red Bull and he’s a very, very famous man. I’ve never met him but I’m sure he’s a very cool guy.”
“Another athlete I’ve admired for a very long time. I’ve followed him since he was in the 125s and just liked his character and the way he rode. His progression and determination are awesome. The news that he’s going to be riding for Ducati next year, that’s very cool. I’ve honestly wanted to see it before he ended his career. I think it’s going to make a pretty cool combination and will be another challenge for him to overcome. We’ll see if he’s still got it – but I’m pretty sure he does. Actually, I’ve got no doubt he’s going to be fighting for that world championship next year.”
“Moving away from sports, I’ll go to an actor now. I’d like to invite Sophia Bush. She is from One Tree Hill, and has been in a couple of movies. One Tree Hill is my softer side! It’s my favourite TV series and she plays one of the characters on it. I think she’s gorgeous and has a very cute laugh – and I think my dinner party would need that. If you haven’t heard of One Tree Hill, what can I say? It’s a teen-ish drama: High School; girlfriends, boyfriends, growing up, moving on, getting married. At times it’s a bit girly – but deep down every guy likes a bit of that sometimes.”
“Another actor who I think is stunning! Kate Beckinsale’s in some good movies, and she seems to be natural – not too caught up in the high life – and good company. Did I also mention very, very cute? I’ll sort out the seating plan to keep her away from Valentino – I reckon he’d be a bit sly with those sneaky Italian ways.”
Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler
“We need someone funny, and I can’t decide between Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler. Jim Carrey… Ace Ventura and Dumb & Dumber are two of my favourite films of all time, that’s why I’d like Jim – but I love Adam Sandler too: Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, they’re all really good. Either one of them would be awesome – take your pick.”
“I’d have to have someone from one of favourite bands. One of the first, if not the first punk band I fell in love with was New Found Glory. I can’t have the whole group, so I’ll just go for lead singer Jordan. I reckon that would make for a pretty good table.“
What's on the menu?
“Oh, I’ve got to cook? Right. Well preparation is everything in the kitchen, so obviously the first thing I’d do is call my Mum, get her to fly over from Australia and cook me up some of that nice Italian Napolitana sauce that she does. I’d produce it on the night and claim it was all my own work. We’d have that with pasta.
"There would maybe be some chicken schnitzel too, but not too much of a main meal because I wouldn’t’ want to spend all night in the kitchen. Obviously any good meal is all about dessert. I’d push the boat out: we’d have a couple of big tubs of Häagen-Dazs and a big box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. There would be a few Aussie beers on the table too.”
“And that would be the perfect night it.”
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