Daniel Ricciardo is set to make his highly anticipated return to Formula 1 with AlphaTauri during the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix. Being in the slowest car on the grid, Ricciardo acknowledges that the car will have its limitations, as indicated by its position in the constructors standings.
In his first time working with the package, which previously saw his predecessor Nyck De Vries struggle to score a single point before being replaced after only 10 races, the Australian driver remains open-minded. He refrains from forming preconceived notions and states, “The car will be what it is.” Ricciardo recognizes that the car might lack overall downforce and grip compared to the Red Bull he drove recently. However, he believes that if the car feels balanced, he can work with it.
“I appreciate the car’s going to have its limitations. I’m sure they’re probably just lacking some overall downforce and things like this, but I think if it’s a car that feels balanced – it might not have as much grip as the Red Bull I drove a few days ago – that’s something I can work with.”
Looking forward to developing the car and utilizing his experience, Ricciardo approaches the Hungarian Grand Prix with a positive mindset. His goal is to enjoy the experience, employing more left foot than right and having a good time on the track.
“I’m looking forward to also developing it and using my experience, and ultimately, I think, for Budapest, just go out and have fun, try and use more left foot than right and have a good time!”
Ricciardo’s return to the grid was swiftly decided after he participated in a Red Bull tire test following the British Grand Prix. Impressively, his lap times during the test were potentially competitive enough to challenge the front of the grid in Silverstone’s qualifying sessions.
After facing challenges during his time at McLaren in the past two seasons, Ricciardo expresses that his confidence is gradually returning, allowing him to feel more like his old self. Recalling his re-entry into the Red Bull team, he describes the positive reception as overwhelming in a good way. Engaging in simulator sessions and regaining his sense of self, Ricciardo feels reinvigorated and ready to embrace the sport he loves once again.
“I know the team… It’s been tough to get a points finish this year, a top 10, so to push this car and try to get it inside the top 10, I think that would get everyone pretty fulfilled and excited.”