Ricciardo: I can’t ask for more on the first weekend

Ricciardo: I can’t ask for more on the first weekend

Ricciardo: I can’t ask for more on the first weekend

Daniel Ricciardo was left content with his first weekend at the wheel of a Formula 1 car following months on the sidelines, and insisted he couldn’t ask for more.

Ricciardo made his return to active F1 racing over last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.

The Australian outqualified new teammate Yuki Tsunoda, 13th vs 17th, and on race day, he also beat the Japanese driver finishing where he started following a first lap incident while Tsunoda was 15th.

Ricciardo had no fault in the first lap mayhem, as it was triggered by Zhou Guanyu, who rear ended the Honey Badger, pushing him into Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. Ocon then hit teammate Pierre Gasly.

That meant Ricciardo dropped down to 18th at the end of the first lap, but then raced to gain five places at the chequered flag.

Reflecting on his first race with AlphaTauri, Ricciardo said: “The whole weekend has been good and to come back, really feel all the things I’ve missed in the last twelve months, I can’t ask for more on the first weekend, and it gives me confidence.

Points could’ve been possible had it not been for the first lap incident

“I got hit in turn 1, and dropped to the tail of the pack,” he added. “After that, we got stuck in traffic, but once we got some clear air, I could settle into a rhythm and from then on, I was happy. Our pace wasn’t bad, maybe we could’ve been in the points today, I don’t know, but our strategy was good, we were just a bit unlucky.

“On the other hand, the contact at the start could’ve ended my race, so I’m grateful the car was still ok, and I was able to do 70 laps to learn as much as possible,” he pointed out. “I’ll learn from the mistakes I made to get better and better, and I made little mental notes, which I will share with the team.

“Overall though, there are a lot of things to be happy about,” the winner of eight grands prix concluded.

Ricciardo lost his McLaren seat at the end of the 2022 F1 season, and was taken in by Red Bull as a reserve driver, but given De Vries’ lack of performance at AlphaTauri, the Aussie was given to the Faenza squad on loan basis for the rest of the season.

The move comes amid speculation that Ricciardo is being prepared by Red Bull to replace Sergio Perez alongside Max Verstappen, as the Mexican has been struggling lately.

Perez however raced to third from ninth in Hungary, a decent performance tarnished by what can be considered a  below par qualifying performance, despite making it into Q3.