Taking his first steps with AlphaTauri at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo recently opened up about his experience. Filling the shoes of Nyck de Vries, who was dropped by the Italian team after only a handful of races in his inaugural season, Ricciardo had a little over seven days to gear up for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite the rushed preparations, Ricciardo showcased a strong performance, even outperforming his team member, Yuki Tsunoda in the qualifying rounds. His chances of scoring were decent had he not been forced to start from the rear due to a kerfuffle involving Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, and Zhou Guanyu at Turn 1.
Sharing his reflections with AlphaTauri media, Ricciardo said:
“My whole weekend in Budapest was really good, making me feel all the things I missed, like the adrenaline and being on the starting grid, those emotions are really powerful.”
He noted that the car was well-balanced, and the unfortunate Turn 1 episode didn’t damage it, allowing him to complete all 70 laps.
“I felt our pace wasn’t bad and there was maybe even a chance of points if I hadn’t had to start again from the back after being hit on the first lap. It was good the car wasn’t damaged, so I was able to do the 70 laps and I felt physically fine at the end of it.
“There were a lot of things to be happy about. I made a few little mistakes in the race, but by the last stint I was really consistent and I don’t think I could have asked for anything more from my first weekend back.”
Looking forward to Spa, Ricciardo expressed his excitement to be back in the cockpit within just a few days. He viewed it as an opportunity to keep the momentum going, and to fast-track his learning and growth in the team.
“I’m happy to have a back-to-back and go to Spa now. I think it was a solid start and it will be good to jump straight back in the car after just a couple of days, as it will keep the ball rolling. It should fast-track my learning and my improvement. That’s the plan, to keep chipping away at it.”