F1 United States Grand Prix: Daniel Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri helmet has crude detail

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Once seen, it can’t be unseen.

Daniel Ricciardo’s helmet for his return at the United States Grand Prix this weekend has raised eyebrows.

In his first race weekend after missing five races with a broken hand, the Australian made a slightly clunky return on Saturday morning, qualifying 15th for Monday morning’s race at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Texas venue has long been one of the 34-year-old’s favourite destinations on the Formula 1 calendar — embracing everything, particularly the food and fashion, about the southern Lone Star State.

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It’s why his helmet for the event is traditionally one of his most daring on the Formula 1 calendar.

The helmet he plonked on his noggin on Saturday morning has certainly caused plenty of chatter — both positive and negative.

Some Formula 1 fans were left snickering with suggestions the artistry used to illustrate flames on the “burnt orange” helmet actually looked like cartoon sperm racing across it.

One conversation on the official Formula 1 Reddit page quickly turned X-rated when fans joked they couldn’t unsee the “tadpoles” swimming across the helmet.

Fortunately, most of the other details about the helmet have been mostly well-received by the Honey Badger’s army of fans.

The man himself is stoked with the design.

The helmet’s colour scheme is in-line with Ricciardo’s passionate support of the Texas Longhorns college football team.

The back of his helmet wraps the whole theme together nicely with a cartoon honey badger dressed in full Longhorns football gear.

Ricciardo earlier this week showed his love for the design in a video shared with his Instagram followers.

“Howdy y’all, this is Austin, 2023, helmet for me,” he said.

“We’re going Longhorns. We have the burnt orange. We have the honey badger. He’s now the quarterback. He’s looking pretty good. They’re having a great season as well. 5-1 at the moment. Lets keep it going and I’ll do my best to represent on track.”

He signed off by using the University of Texas at Austin’s trademark “Hook ‘em” chant.

He was still smiling on Saturday despite his struggles in qualifying.

Ricciardo was potentially denied a spot in Q3 after his best lap time was wiped out as a result of an ‘exceeding the limits’ violation during Q2.

Because of the violation for running wide of the track when exiting a corner, Ricciardo will start from 15th on Monday morning. His teammate Yuki Tsunoda qualified 11th, missing out on a spot in Q3 by less than 0.1 seconds.

It was a drama-filled session which ended with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc taking advantage of Max Verstappen’s mistakes to snatch pole position.

One of Verstappen’s first flying laps was hampered when teammate Sergio Perez appeared to get in his way. A lap that would have been enough to claim pole position was also deleted because of a ‘track limits’ violation.

Sky Sports commentator David Croft described the mistake as “costly, costly, costly for Max Verstappen”.

Martin Brundle added: “Wow I was not expecting that.”

Verstappen was angry at Perez, claiming his Red Bull teammate gave him dirty air ahead of him on the last corner as Perez was starting his flying lap.

The world champion fumed over team radio: “Well done, well f***ing done there. What the f*** was that in the last corner? F***ing bulls***.”

Verstappen is chasing his 50th career race win but will have to do it the hard way after qualifying sixth fastest. Perez was ninth fastest.

United States Grand Prix starting grid

1) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

2) Lando Norris (McLaren)

3) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4) Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

5) George Russell (Mercedes)

6) Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

7) Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

8) Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

9) Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

10) Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

Read related topics:Daniel Ricciardo

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