MIAMI — Daniel Ricciardo‘s smile has by no means seemed wider. With nation music blaring from the onboard audio system of his private watercraft, the eight-time grand prix winner joins ESPN out on the open water with solar on his pores and skin and sea water in his hair.

Over 300 metres from the shoreline, it is one in all the extra uncommon interview places for each driver and reporter, however there could not be a extra becoming backdrop forward of Formula One’s inaugural race in Miami.

“Pretty cool, huh?” he tells ESPN as he shuts off the engine and we bob up and down in the turquoise waters. “This is a primary for me as properly.”

When we speak, there’s 5 days to go till race day and Ricciardo has spent the morning ripping his new experience round a small island in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

It’s a mixture of work and play as he takes route from a movie crew on a ship, who’re capturing footage for an upcoming product launch for Sea-Doo — a producer of 300-brake-horsepower playthings for the water. Ricciardo is the new face of the model and in the present day is all about securing imagery of solar, sea and smiles in a postcard-perfect setting.

Ricciardo’s aquatic playground is a lagoon positioned between Miami Beach and the downtown space. The calm and clear waters have been closed off to the public by the native sheriff in order that the McLaren driver can let free, and thus far he is not been holding again.

After over a decade in Formula One, Ricciardo isn’t any stranger to adrenaline, however he is clearly nonetheless buzzing in the case of interview time halfway by the morning. His traditional experience — a 1000-brake-horsepower F1 automobile — topics his physique to 5 occasions the pressure of gravity by high-speed corners, however after doing it for 11 years he is considerably used to that.

Being on the water, nevertheless, is a brand new sort of thrill.

“I used to be constructing my confidence on the market, however I needed to inform myself, ‘Don’t get too assured’ as a result of I nonetheless do not actually know what I’m doing!

“It undoubtedly scared me a bit. I believe it is as a result of being on the water is somewhat bit out of my consolation zone, however normally it is simply because it is actually quick.

“They say you possibly can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds on this factor. I’m glad I’m carrying gloves since you want each little bit of grip to carry on to it.

“I imply, it feels actually fast. I’m assuming it appears actually fast as properly?”

It does. Even although he is nonetheless getting used to the machine, Ricciardo instantly impressed the workers from Sea-Doo.

“I wasn’t anticipating him to nook that onerous,” mentioned one as we watched Ricciardo from an island in the lagoon. The 32-year-old had the watercraft banked over and on the throttle as he got here inside inches of a buoy marking out a race monitor on the water.

Even so, Ricciardo insists he was holding again a bit — cautious of wounding himself forward of Sunday’s large occasion.

“I’ve to remind myself that I’ve bought to race this weekend! I practically forgot about that on the market.”

That’s the place the nation music is available in — it helps to mellow the temper.

“I really feel prefer it’s a rustic music vibe out right here in the present day,” he says. “Music and a machine — it is all I need in life!

“If I may hearken to music after I raced in F1, I believe I’d be quicker. I’d be the world champion that would have been with music!”

It begs the query, what can be the greatest music for an F1 race?

“I’d begin with one thing heavier, whether or not it is punk rock or some hip-hop after which as the race went on I’d mellow it out to try to get myself in the zone.

“Maybe some silky digital music to maintain you in a little bit of rhythm.”

Away from F1, Ricciardo says he typically makes use of totally different types of motorised transport to let off steam. His final three-machine storage does not embrace an F1 automobile, however as an alternative a 110cc motocross bike, an off-road two-seater buggy and his new Sea-Doo, which he describes as a motorcycle for the water.

Despite racing vehicles his entire profession, the two-wheeled world is more and more what pursuits him and can possible present his kicks when he lastly provides up racing.

“I used to be all the time fascinated by two wheels,” he says. “When I used to be rising up I used to be watching as a lot two-wheel racing as four-wheel, whether or not it was motorbike racing or filth bike racing or the freestyle motocross, I used to be so into it.

“Over the years, as a result of I’ve spent a lot time on 4 wheels, I’ve had extra curiosity in two wheels as a result of it is nonetheless new and thrilling for me.

“That’s one thing I need to do after I retire from F1 is to discover ways to get higher on these and on filth bikes.”

So may he make a change to racing one thing aside from vehicles?

“No, not competitively. Just for enjoyable.

“My aggressive gene will likely be worn out after F1. I plan to burn all the wicks in F1 and it will simply be for enjoyable after that.

“I’ll nonetheless get adrenaline from it, like days like in the present day, however I’ll look to get my kicks from the thrill of it relatively than seeking to be quicker than the man subsequent to me.”

With the solar reappearing from behind a cloud, the situations are proper for extra content material capturing and it is time for Ricciardo to get again to “work”. The movie crew on the boat have extra pictures to safe and no want to have a journalist in the body with their celebrity.

Ricciardo fires his Sea-Doo again up, the nation music returns and he heads off for one more lap of the island.

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