Daniel Ricciardo appears to be winning both on and off the circuit, following reports that his 2023 future is set to be announced, with it believed that he’s in “advanced” negotiations to become Mercedes’ reserve driver next season.
The reserve role at the Silver Arrows is set to become vacant imminently, with Nyck de Vries announced as an AlphaTauri driver at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Whilst it means Ricciardo won’t be seen on the grid next year, it does mean he’ll get his wish to join a frontrunning side.
Things suddenly appear to be considerably better for the Honey Badger, who claimed his best result of the season at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite qualifying P16, the 33-year-old magnificently worked his way up to fifth, where he finished directly behind Lando Norris in what was a huge 22-point haul for the Woking-based team.
McLaren’s four-five finish saw them reclaim fourth in the Constructors’ Championship; however, they sit just four points ahead of Alpine going into this weekend’s Japanese GP.
Friday was a very wet day at the legendary Suzuka, considerably more challenging conditions than what faced the drivers last weekend at the Marina Bay Circuit.
The full Wet tyres made an appearance throughout the day, as drivers attempted to make their way through the rivers running across the circuit.
The opening day at Suzuka ended up being a challenging one for Ricciardo, who ended FP1 in P12 and FP2 in P17, disappointingly.
Qualifying looks set to be the first dry running the drivers will get all weekend, with the race on Sunday also forecast to be wet.
The Aussie actually has some good memories of the famous circuit, including, a third-place finish whilst driving for Red Bull in 2017.
His most recent appearance at the venue in 2019 actually ended in disqualification, which was awarded to himself and team-mate at the time Nico Hulkenberg after Renault were deemed to have used an illegal brake bias adjustment system.
He’ll certainly be hoping to avoid being disqualified this weekend, in what would be an embarrassing way to end what could be his final race at the venue.
Despite his Friday performance, he’s seemed upbeat going into the weekend and was actually spotted in Tokyo wearing a very exclusive watch.
Whilst having dinner with ex-F1 driver Felipe Massa, eagle-eyed fans spotted that Ricciardo was wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus ‘Ruby’ (ref. 5711/112P), which boasts an eye-watering market price of over $800,000.
The watch is so ‘rare’ that it’s actually an ‘off-catalogue’ exclusive, which means it isn’t purchasable in any store.
Patek only offer the watch to loyal customers or extremely big spenders, with Ricciardo probably being able to fall into either category!
Astonishingly, only a few are made by Patek every year, with the luxury sports watch holding a platinum case, a black dial, and 44-baguette cut rubies forming a bracelet around the outside of the frame.
Ricciardo is known to own several Patek watches, further demonstrating that whilst also being able to offer more money than the ‘average’ person, he’s also a loyal customer to the watchmaker.