Daniel Ricciardo’s famous grin has never looked wider than when he was asked about the prospect of driving in the newly-announced Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Australian star, who’s not had the greatest time since joining McLaren, was even left joking he’d changed his mind about retiring from the sport after learning about next year’s new night race in ‘Sin City’.
Formula 1 drivers have all been left enthusing about the return of racing to the US entertainment capital, which last staged a Grand Prix in the 1980s – but none seemed happier than the fun-loving Perth racer.
As F1 compiled the reactions of their drivers on video when they were shown the “Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, Ricciardo couldn’t resist snapping his fingers and declaring: “I was gonna retire – I will not no more!”
Ricciardo is setting his sights on his home Australian Grand Prix on April 10 after a frustrating start to his campaign.
It began with him contracting COVID-19, then finishing 14th in Bahrain when well off the pace and last weekend suffering a race retirement in Saudi Arabia.
Sunday’s setback, when his McLaren lost power on the 38th lap, earned him an apology from team boss Andreas Seidl but there had at least been some encouraging signs for Ricciardo who had looked set to be among the points until the problem struck.
The Las Vegas event remains a long way distant, with a November 2023 date planned, but it has already caused plenty of enthusiasm in the pit lane.
“That’s going to be a pretty hardcore event,” Lewis Hamilton smiled.
“Knowing it’s a real party city, it’s difficult for a racing driver. How am I going to focus that weekend? There’s going to be so much going on!”
“I’m sure some drivers will spend some money in the casinos – and hopefully try and gain it back on Sunday,” was Sebastian Vettel’s take.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali described the new race as “an incredible moment for Formula 1 that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the US.”