F1 Grand Prix of Mexico
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo fires off the finger gun before overtaking Esteban Ocon in the Mexican Grand Prix

It takes unimaginable confidence, along with nerves of steel, to compete in F1 racing.

There might not be a better example of that than what Daniel Ricciardo did this past weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix.

It has not been the best season for the Australian driver. Ricciardo’s best finish this year came a few weeks ago, when he came in fifth at the Singapore Grand Prix. That came too late in the year, however, to save his seat for the next season. It was made official over the summer that McLaren would be buying him out from the final year of his contract, which was due to run through 2023.

Still, the season must go on, and that included Ricciardo racing under the McLaren banner for the rest of the year, including Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix. Ricciardo qualified in 11th place for the race, three spots behind his current McLaren teammate, Lando Norris.

After ten laps of racing, Ricciardo had slid back into 12th position, but slowly worked his way inside the top ten. Midway through the race, Ricciardo came onto pit road and changed to softer tires, and when he returned to the track, he found that he had an advantage over many of the other cars still in the race, and he began to charge through the field.

Not without incident, however.

On lap 51 of the Mexican Grand Prix, Ricciardo made an aggressive move to try and overtake Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri, and the two cars came together:

Ricciardo was hit with a ten-second penalty from race officials for his aggressive driving, but following the incident, Ricciardo continued his charge through the field. The McLaren driver charged up the leaderboard after the collision — which knocked Tsunoda out of the race — working his car all the way up to seventh.

He overtook Esteban Ocon of Alpine for that seventh spot, and just before doing so, fired off a finger gun from behind the wheel, all while setting a blistering pace on the track:

Ricciardo was able to pull far enough ahead of Ocon that the eventual ten-second penalty did not change where he finished in the race.

Imagine having the kind of confidence to pull of that gesture, and pass, all while blistering around the course at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, where the Mexican Grand Prix is held, is one of the fastest tracks on the F1 circuit, due in part to its location, well above sea level. So for Ricciardo to have this kind of confidence is downright impressive.

As our own JP Acosta described it in the SB Nation Slack, it is some “Ricky Bobby stuff.”

As it stands right now, however, it is unlikely that we will see this and more from Ricciardo next season, as the Australian does not have a seat yet for the 2023 campaign. There is an open spot with Haas, but Ricciardo indicated that would be a non-starter for him despite Haas boss Guenther Steiner trying to recruit him to the team. There was also talk in Mexico about Ricciardo taking on a reserve role with Mercedes, with current Mercedes driver George Russell saying he would love to see Ricciardo as part of the team.

Still, whether Ricciardo ends up with an F1 seat, driving in a reserve role, or even taking a sabbatical, you know he will be confident.

Which is something to aspire to.