Date: 10th December 2014 at 9:22am
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After eventual 2014 Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, most people in F1 would name their driver of the year as Daniel Ricciardo.

The 25-year-old Australian made the step up from sister team Toro Rosso replacing fellow countryman Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing for 2014.

He had narrowly beat off competition from Jean-Eric Vergne for the seat, whilst some experts believed that the team had made the wrong decision in backing Ricciardo.

Stepping into the team that had won the past four consecutive Formula One constructors titles and becoming the team-mate of the then reigning four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, it should have been a daunting task.

But the laid back and ever positive Aussie took it all in his stride.

Even when during winter testing Red Bull Racing looked set for a season of struggle, there was no chance of knocking the grin off of his face.

Although his disqualification at his home race at the Australian Grand Prix after finishing second on his Red Bull debut would have come close.

Despite losing those 18 points, Ricciardo went on to amass 238 points comfortably beating Vettel’s tally of 167.

Ricciardo was also the only man to break the Mercedes AMG strangle hold on the 2014 Formula One World Championship season by winning the Canadian, Hungarian and Belgian Grand Prix.

In fact Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg only won, two more races than Ricciardo all season.

‘I think this year was a big step forward in my career, a big step in the direction I wanted it to go in, Obviously the Mercedes were dominant, but I was able to score the only other three wins of the season, so that was a big year for me.’ he said at the annual FIA Prize-Giving Gala.

‘Deep down I always believed that I could do it and that if I had the equipment and the opportunity I could do it – but looking back on it, looking at Mercedes domination and for me to be the only driver that broke that, that surprised me a little bit.

‘I won’t settle for anything else now. Once you make one step you want to keep making more. I’m sure Mercedes are going to very quick again next year, but the gap’s there for us to close. Hopefully we can do that.’