LONDON (Reuters) - Australian Daniel Ricciardo has already stripped Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton of one lap record before the season has even started.
The Red Bull driver demolished Hamilton's two-year-old fastest lap as the 'star in a reasonably-priced car' in an episode of the popular Top Gear television show broadcast on Sunday.
The 25-year-old, driving a Suzuki Liana, lapped seven tenths of a second faster than his Mercedes rival with a time of one minute 42.2 seconds.
"Tonight it's all beer and skittles for the Honey Badger. He can kick back with a pizza and a deep sense of achievement," declared his team in a tongue-in-cheek appreciation of his achievement on their website.
"Life will never be the same again for our young Australian. The team now needs to get him focussed and back to the day job of driving the world's fastest, most powerful single-seaters. It's going to be a long haul but Daniel's a dedicated competitor."
Ricciardo, who won three races last season and was the only non-Mercedes driver to stand on top of the podium, had said last month that it would be nice to take at least one title off Hamilton.
The harder task will be taking the Briton's other title in the season that starts in Australia on March 15.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty