Daniel Ricciardo ready for Formula One debut at Silverstone
Australian Daniel Ricciardo takes to his first Formula One grand prix this weekend – as compatriot Mark Webber bids for successive Silverstone wins.
It will be the first time two Australians take to an F1 grid since 1977 – when countryman Alan Jones collected a famous Austrian Grand Prix win over home favourite Niki Lauda.
'I'll have to win on the weekend then, won't I,' Webber retorted.
The Red Bull racer has full faith in Ricciardo, reserve driver at the Milton Keynes team – but given the chance to drive for the remainder of the season with struggling Hispania in place of Narain Karthikeyan.
'I know how special it is to compete in your first grand prix,' said Webber. 'Any driver going into Formula One for their first weekend, irrespective of what car you drive, it's always very special because of the amount of work and effort you've put in.
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'So here he is, he fully deserves to be here and it's going to be an apprenticeship for him – and it will be a short one. Back in the day you used to get 100 grands prix before you got a seat in a big team.'
What Ricciardo can achieve on Sunday with Hispania is likely to be extremely limited. Starting from the back of the grid at Silverstone this weekend, just behind team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi, the Spanish team has been notoriously off the pace since arriving on the grid at the start of last season.
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'I think with the car he's driving, even if Daniel went for glory we wouldn't see that he did,' added Webber.
'He's got to just head through the weekend, accumulate regulations, miles and how a Formula One weekend goes. There's a lot of fine print he has got to get his head around and he will have exposure to that, and that is important.
'Competing and finishing your first grand prix is a nice feeling, seeing that chequered flag. Having his team-mate covered will be in his interest too and hopefully he enjoys it.'
Ricciardo got the call to join up with Hispania close to his 22nd birthday at the start of this month.
'Yeah, it was a nice birthday present for me, it was quite a big surprise,' said the youngster. 'I didn't expect to be racing in Formula One this year so it's a big opportunity for me and still a bit of a shock.
'I had one of my greatest races here back in 2008 with Formula Renault so Silverstone has been good to me and it's quite close to my second home in England.
'And the car doesn't worry me at all. Driving in Formula One is something I have dreamed of since I was a boy.'