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Ricciardo: Let’s keep the ball rolling

Ricciardo: Let’s keep the ball rolling

Ricciardo: Let’s keep the ball rolling

Daniel Ricciardo delivered a solid performance in the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix, his second race since returning from a hand injury due to a practice crash in Zandvoort.

Ricciardo looked the whole weekend, seemingly enjoying the AlphaTauri AT04 that was upgraded in his absence, when Liam Lawson was still deputizing for him.

The Honey Badger featured in the top ten in all three practice sessions, while in qualifying he delivered an impressive session to line up fourth on the starting grid of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

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Granted, he was given a tow in Q1 and Q2 by teammate Yuki Tsunoda – who was starting from the back of the grid for new components on his car – Ricciardo had to navigate Q3 on his own and he delivered, beating a Red Bull, two Mercedes and McLarens in the process.

In the race though that feature two starts, the original one and later another following a Red flag brought out by a heavy crash by Kevin Magnussen, and Ricciardo ended up seventh, running out of laps trying to catch Mercedes’ George Russell.

Two starts in Mexico are stressful

“There’s a lot of emotions, and I’m definitely feeling better than good,” Ricciardo said after the race. “Two starts on this track hold your breath because it’s such a long run until Turn 1, and anything can happen.

“The first start, we went into Turn 1 fourth and came out of it fourth as well, so I was happy. For the second start, I knew the Red Flag would hurt our race, but I’m happy to hear that Kevin (Magnussen) wasn’t injured after the big crash he had.

“Restarting on the hard compound, with others opting for the medium tyre, and only losing one position, was close to the best scenario, and we did well,” the Australian continued. “We tried to settle into our rhythm, where I had a little fight with Norris but then let him go.

“We thought if he could catch George (Russell), he’d bring him closer to us, and he did. On the last lap, we got close but didn’t quite make it. Regardless, to be fighting with a Mercedes at the end is exciting.

“Overall, it was a good weekend during which we scored six important points. Now let’s keep the ball rolling,” the winner of eight Formula 1 races concluded.

Big Question: Is the Honey Badger really back? Or is his Mexican form a flash in the pan?