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Daniel Ricciardo reveals past as a tennis racquet smasher

Daniel Ricciardo says his little-seen temper comes out in competition.
Daniel Ricciardo says his little-seen temper comes out in competition.Picture: Getty Images

Perth race ace Daniel Ricciardo says he’s not impressed by glamorous lifestyles and is equally happy to sleep in a swag.

“You get the nice hotels and fancy restaurants. They’re cool,” Ricciardo said of the associated glitz off-track.

“But at the same time, I don’t feel like I need these things. I’m happy to go to my mate’s house and sleep in a swag. The balance is good.”

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Indeed, Ricciardo, of Red Bull Racing, credits the Australian view of life as an advantage in F1-racing. “That humble upbringing can help anyone,” he said. “It’s made me appreciate all the things I’ve earned over time.”

His family, and childhood friends — who Ricciardo calls his “day one homies” — are a stabilising influence. He spent a month with them during the summer holidays.

“We still do we do the same things we did as kids,” he said. “We all love our bikes so we go bike riding and camping and fishing. It’s off season so I’m able to enjoy a few beers and not care too much.”

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Ricciardo is widely regarded as motorsport’s nice guy. But when does the mongrel come out?

“I’m a born competitor. As a kid I was a sore loser. If it was a tennis match, I’d smash a racquet or something,” he said, laughing. “You can throw your toys out of the pram on any given day, but I’m trying to analyse it more.

“I’ve become a bit more respectful, but I still don’t like to lose. Anytime I’m competing or my back’s up against the wall, I let out some emotion. Once the helmet’s on, that’s the serious side of me.”

Ricciardo arrives in Melbourne tonight and will attend an event for Tag Heuer.

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