It may take you five minutes to read the following next few paragraphs, but know that it took just 48 seconds to interview Daniel Ricciardo. That’s because I joined the Australian Formula One star behind the wheel of a Ariel Atom for a “hot lap” just outside the Olympic Stadium, in London UK.
But before jumping into the car, the young driver took off his watch, a white gold Rolex Sky-Dweller. “I really like it,” said Ricciardo. “I had never seen anyone with one, at least not anyone I know.”
There was little at stake, or so I thought, in the time trial. But Ricciardo wanted to set the fastest lap which would mean beating his rival of the day and future Race Of Champions competitor, David Coulthard.
Sponsored by TAG Heuer, this annual competition puts some of the world’s best drivers from Formula 1, MotoGP, World Rally, IndyCar and Le Mans, together for a chance to compete head-to-head in identical racing cars.
For the young Australian, who will be representing his home country during the ROC Nations Cup, it will be the chance to measure up against fellow F1 stars Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, David Coulthard (who retired at the end of 2008).
Ricciardo set the motor racing world alight in 2014 with three victories in Canada, Hungary and Belgium following his move to the Red Bull F1 team. This year has seem him battle against superior cars and personal misfortune, but still he is battling it out in the driver’s championship standings.
With two podiums each, this could be the chance for Ricciardo and Massa to settle the score once and for all. When they are not overtaking each other, the two drivers occasionally talk watches.
Over the years, Ricciardo says he has spotted the Richard Mille watches on Massa’s wrist. An ambassador of the young independent brand, the Brazilian is famous for wearing his ultra expensive timepieces during races.
Formula One drivers have always loved mechanical watches, viewing them as mini engines for the wrist. And already Ricciardo’s collection contains some of the most well-known and respected brands. Besides the Rolex, he owns an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Skeleton 39mm, and an IWC Portugieser.
“My dream watch at the moment,” says Ricciardo, “is a Patek.” The newly launched Ref. 5980 in pink gold with a chocolate dial, to be precise. “Yep, that’s on the wish list,” he says, after slamming on the brakes shortly past the finish line.
Its second place for now, with the former F1 great only a few milliseconds ahead this time.
“My collection is starting,” he says with a smile. If that is true, it’s off to a great start. And if he continues to be just as quick on the track, the watches will come thick and fast.