Ricciardo: Players twice my size

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 19: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing at a training session with the Del Valle Cardinals High School Football Team during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

F1 duo take part in high school American football practice ahead of US GP.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen got kitted out in bespoke Red Bull Racing gear for a full two-hour American football practice session in Austin ahead of Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Located 10 minutes from the Circuit of the Americas, football is a serious business at Del Valle High School – home of the Cardinals – with a stadium that seats around 7,500.

The Formula 1 racers warmed up with high kicks before moving on to field goal attempts, evasion drills, throwing and receiving – all encouraged by some highly energetic cheerleading.

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 19: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing at a training session with the Del Valle Cardinals High School Football Team during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Neither driver is likely to be changing careers any time soon, but both really enjoyed themselves – though Daniel was somewhat surprised when the team coach warmed him up with a friendly head-butt.

“It was very cool. I love ball sports and it’s always good to try something new,” said the Australian.



“I really liked the camaraderie. It’s great how sports here are such a big part of education. Actually, I got a bit too excited and I’ve lost my voice – lots of screaming and shouting – but a really great experience.”

When quizzed on his performance, this season’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner gave himself a pass.

He added, “I think I did OK! I think my catching was OK, the kicking and throwing… well, my catching was OK. I think they were being easy on me: they’re 16 or 17 years old and twice my size!”

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 19: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing at a training session with the Del Valle Cardinals High School Football Team during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

For Malaysian Grand Prix winner Max the experience was more of a step into the unknown – though he did manage to outshine his team-mate and kick a field goal.

The Dutchman revealed, “Well, yeah, it’s a first for me – in Holland we’re more famous for soccer – but it was a cool experience, and interesting to play with an egg-shaped ball.

“There was a real feeling of team spirit, and that’s always good. It’s very different to what we do in F1 – but like us they have to work together to get a result and that’s no different.”

Having survived unscathed, attention now turns back to the Circuit of the Americas and Friday US GP practice.

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 19: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepare for a training session with the Del Valle Cardinals High School Football Team during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 19: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing at a training session with the Del Valle Cardinals High School Football Team during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 19: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing at a training session with the Del Valle Cardinals High School Football Team during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

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