Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo has been presented with an exclusive trophy named in honour of the late Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini.
In his signature first year as a Red Bull team driver which has netted him three grand prix victories, Ricciardo has become the 21st winner of the Trofeo Bandini.
Ricciardo was given the award at an elaborate ceremony in the Italian village of Brisighella, where Bandini spent his childhood.
The annual award is presented to the driver who has put in the most impressive performances over the past 12 months.
As such Ricciardo is the only driver to have punctured the Mercedes assault of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in 2014.
“I was quite overwhelmed with the reception I received at the event. The Italians really love their motorsport,” Ricciardo said.
“To be awarded with the Lorenzo Bandini trophy was an honour and to join the many great drivers on that list makes me proud.”
Previous winners include his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Robert Kubica, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve.
Complete with the passionate Italian pomp and ceremony, Ricciardo took the award in the centre of Brisighella where a throng of fans cheered to the beat of drummers and trumpeters dressed in full medieval regalia and knights in chain and armour.
Of Sicilian heritage, Ricciardo received the trophy from the town’s mayor David Missiroli as the 80-year-old sister of the awards namesake, Gabriella Bandini, watched on.
Other notable attendees were the current Mercedes designer Aldo Costa and former team owner Giancarlo Minardi, whose old squad morphed into Toro Rosso for which Ricciardo cut his teeth in F1.
The F1 world championship resumes in Italy this weekend at the famed Monza circuit just outside Milan with Ricciardo sitting third in the standings on 156 points behind Rosberg (220) and Hamilton (191).