Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo Reflects on Return to F1 at Austin GP: Overcoming “Race Rust” Not Injury

In a candid assessment of his performance at the Austin Grand Prix, AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo attributed his modest showing not to his recent injury but to “race rust”. Despite finishing 12th in the Sprint race, Ricciardo emphasized that his injury was not a factor in his performance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ricciardo’s Injury Update: Daniel Ricciardo, who suffered a broken left wrist at the Dutch GP, underwent surgery and physiotherapy. He confirmed that his injury did not hinder his performance in Austin, indicating that his recovery was successful and did not impact his driving.
  • “Race Rust” as the Main Challenge: Returning for the United States Grand Prix Sprint race, his first since the injury, Ricciardo candidly admitted to experiencing “race rust”. This affected his decision-making on the track, leading to his 12th place finish, rather than the physical limitations of his injury.
  • Reflections on the Race and Future Goals: Ricciardo shared insights into his mindset and strategies, acknowledging minor mistakes due to lack of recent race experience. He expressed a determination to reach Q3 in future races, indicating both a recognition of his current limitations and an optimistic outlook for improvement.

In a revealing conversation with the media, Daniel Ricciardo, the seasoned AlphaTauri driver, opened up about his recent performance at the Austin Grand Prix. Following a challenging period marked by a broken left wrist sustained during the Dutch GP qualifying, Ricciardo underwent a necessary surgical procedure and intensive physiotherapy. His return to the circuit was highly anticipated, but it came with its own set of challenges.

Contrary to popular belief that his injury might have been a hindrance, Ricciardo clarified that it was in fact “race rust” that affected his performance. Finishing 11th in the qualifying and 12th in the Sprint race, he underscored that physical discomfort from his injury was not an issue. “I am feeling alright,” Ricciardo stated, emphasizing his physical readiness. “The hand hasn’t affected me this weekend so it’s been good.”

Reflecting on his approach to the race, Ricciardo mentioned taking enough time off to ensure a confident return. He candidly spoke about the challenges of getting back into the rhythm of racing, highlighting that even with his extensive experience, this year has been different due to his reduced exposure to competitive racing. This “race rust” led to some decisions on the track that he later questioned.

Despite these setbacks, Ricciardo remained optimistic and focused on improvement. He mentioned making a significant step forward from the qualifying to the race day, expressing satisfaction with his progress. The goal of reaching Q3 remains a target for him and the team, highlighting their ambition to surpass current performances.

Ricciardo also touched upon a specific incident with Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, where he felt the impact of his “race rust”. Despite initial frustration over losing a position to Stroll, Ricciardo managed to regain his place, a move that boosted his morale.

In conclusion, Ricciardo’s experience at the Austin GP was a mix of challenges and small victories. His honest assessment of his performance, focusing on “race rust” rather than injury, sheds light on the complexities of returning to high-level racing after a setback. His resilience and commitment to improvement are clear indicators of his determination to return stronger in future races.

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