“... Now, we turn to a segment with Martin Brundle about the fatal incident that happened 10 years ago at this very track. The Tribute to the rising Star in Formula 1, who ended up in a terrible crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Jules Bianchi.” Jules was sitting in front of the television at his grandparents. He was captivated by everything that was on the screen and the segment about Bianchi, captivated Jules even more. As the segment went on and the tv host kept talking about ‘Jules’, he turned towards Elle, who was cuddling up on the sofa with Isla.
“Mom, his name is Jules. My name is Jules,” he said with excitement in his voice. Elle who hadn't noticed the segment on the tv before that, felt tears form in the corners of her eyes.
“Yes, baby. It is.”
“Who is he, mom?” Jules asked again. Mal noticed her daughter-in-law with tears in her eyes and with a glance at the TV, knew exactly what was going on. She quickly distracted both Jules and Isla, letting Elle know that she would handle the situation and that it was okay for Elle to enter the kitchen to get some air.
As Elle sat down at the table in the kitchen, sadness overtook her and tears fell. Jules had been everything for Elle. Not more than Daniel, but close. Daniel was how she had met and gotten close to Jules. So much so, that they were actually talking about feelings during the 2014 season. Thoughts about Jules continued to fill Elle’s mind and after quite a while, she finally tried her tears to gaze at the time. There was about half an hour to the start of the race and Dan would still be in his little room in the back of the garage. Elle knew this and had unconsciously quick-dialed him. She pressed her phone to her ear, wiping away a few tears that traveled over her cheeks.
“ Elle? ” Daniel’s voice came through the phone. She could hear that he sounded nervous.
“Dan. I…” Elle’s voice broke.
“ Elle? Baby... ” His voice turned from nervousness to confusion and concern.
“I… Jules…” She tried once again.
“ Are you okay? Either of you? Baby, what’s wrong? ” Questions flew from Daniel as Elle kept crying on the phone. Elle took some deep breaths and focused on her answer.
“TV showed a tribute to Bianchi. I was focused on Isla… Then Jules asks me about him and the tribute…” Elle’s tears started to flow again. “... I… Dan…”
“ Sweetie… ” Dan said. He knew that the various TV stations would do a tribute to Bianchi, his life, the crash in 2014 and death in 2015.
“...Dan… Jules asked me about him… and… and I just closed down… I didn’t answer him…” Daniel could hear how much this upset Elle.
“ Elle, sweetie, we knew that one day he would ask us about Bianchi. ”
“Not today, Dan, not today.”
“ I know, baby. Where are you all now? ”
“Mom is… is looking after the kids… I’m in the kitchen and Dad is outside... with the grill.” Her speech was still interrupted by her sobbing.
“ Okay, ” Daniel said and held a small break. “ Sweetie, just go back to Mom and the kids and watch the race. We can talk more tonight and then, we can have a talk with Jules about Bianchi when I come down, okay? ”
“Okay,” Elle said as she nodded, well knowing that Daniel couldn’t see her nod.
They ended the phone call as Stuart called on Daniel for him to join the track. Elle felt more okay after the phone call and joined the rest of the Ricciardo family, who was joined in the living room in front of the TV. She sat down on the sofa, just as the grid left for the warm-up lap. Daniel was in P3, which was nothing to complain about as both Daniel and Elle knew that would mean both hard work and lots of fun for Daniel. Both Isla and Jules joined their mother on the sofa, leaning into her as if they knew the tumult going through her. The race started under the safety car, as the rain was pouring down, just like 10 years earlier. There were moments of both anxiety and astonishment during the race, with multiple drivers going both up and down the grid. Dan ended the race in P3 after being in P15 at one point. He used both his own knowledge and a few things that Max had taught him during their stint together at Red Bull.
The following Tuesday, Elle took Jules, Isla, and Mal with her to the airport as they were picking up Daniel. Little Mason was at home with Grandpa John and getting ready for Daniel to come home and spend the week before they moved on to the next race and the family would return to their home in Monaco.
“DADDY!” Jules exclaimed as he saw his dad come through the arrivals hall. Isla and Jules both sprinted towards their father, big smiles plastered on their faces. He wrapped his son and daughter into a tight hug. Elle and Mal both neared Daniel and the kids, Mal gushing over her son and grandchildren. Elle’s heart melted as she saw her husband and their children reunite as it did every time.
It didn't take long for the family to return home to the Ricciardo house, where John and Mason were waiting for them outside. The 7-month-old Mason was moving lovely around in his grandpa’s arms as he spotted his dad. Elle and Daniel shared a glance of happiness as they saw their youngest through the windscreen of the car, parking the car in the drive.
After the lunch, Elle and Daniel say sat down with Jules in the living room.
“Jules?” Daniel asked, looking at his now 7-year-old son, “Do you remember Sunday?”
“Yeah?” Jules answered questionably.
“Do you remember Mom going away before the race start?” Daniel asked again.
“Yeah. I asked about a guy, who is also called Jules. Mom got really sad.” As Jules talked, his voice became lower.
“I did,” Elle confirmed.
“Why?” Jules asked.
“Because…” Elle stopped, feeling tears form in the corners of her eyes.
“Because, that guy, was also named Jules…” Daniel continued for Elle, giving her hand a squeeze. “He… He was a very close friend to both me and to your mom.” Jules just sat quietly and listened to what his dad was telling him. Daniel went on to tell Jules about his namesake and what he meant to Elle, Daniel and the rest of the world. Both Daniel and Elle had tears in their eyes when they finished telling Jules Ricciardo about Jules Bianchi.
From that point on, Jules Bianchi became some sort of guardian angel for Jules Ricciardo and many of the things that he did in his later life, would be with Bianchi in his thoughts.