Daniel Ricciardo has warned that there is still ‘more to come’ after an impressive debut qualifying performance with AlphaTauri.

After seven months on the sideline, Ricciardo managed to qualify P13 on his competitive return to F1 while teammate Yuki Tsunoda was eliminated in Q1 and will start Sunday’s race 17th.

The Australian returns to a full-time F1 seat this weekend after replacing Nyck de Vries at the Red Bull junior team.

“I had no idea where to expect to be on the grid,” Ricciardo told the media. “The 13th place in a way feels somewhat irrelevant.

“The main thing is for me to get behind the wheel, feel good again and be comfortable in the car and the team. I feel like I’ve made good progress over the past two days and learnt relatively quickly, and as long as we keep progressing from here, I’ll be happy.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) AlphaTauri with fans.
22.07.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Qualifying Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

“It hasn’t been the easiest weekend to come in, with the wet conditions we had yesterday and the different tyre allocations, but I was happy to be competitive in qualifying. I don’t expect the racing to feel too foreign, I only took half a year off, so tomorrow will be fun, and of course, if there are gaps, I’ll see what the car can do.”

Despite his absence and returning to the sport in a car that he has never driven, Ricciardo said that he felt “relaxed” when jumping into the AT04 for qualifying.

“I felt really relaxed, and not to take it lightly, but just happy to be back and happy to be able to push a car on the limit again,” he added.

“This is something that I didn’t always have the last year or two, and that’s why I think the time off was needed for me.

“I thought I was going to get 12 months [out of a race seat], in the end I only got six or seven or whatever. Fortunately, it was enough. I felt like I had enough time to fall back in love.”

After feeling that he was missing lap time on Friday, the 34-year-old was able to address his shortcomings overnight to reach Q2.

“I think everything I had to improve last night, I felt like I was able to improve. I got it close to 100%, maybe 98, so I took a nice step.

“I think the lap was pretty good. It’s hard as well with these temperatures, and in the last sector, you rely so much on the rear grip that probably no-one is saying the car felt amazing in these conditions. I have to keep that in mind as well.”

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) AlphaTauri AT04.
22.07.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Qualifying Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Looking ahead to Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Ricciardo is wary that he is yet to complete a full race stint but is not overly concerned going into the race.

“I’ll get a little more jacked up tomorrow. But I think as well just be smart. I don’t think, of course I need to get into it and race, and not be soft.

“I’ve done only maybe an eight-lap run or something at the moment. Even for me, I think tomorrow there’s going to be a lot of things for me to learn in terms of tire management, but also the car, with fuel, as the tires go off, I think I’ll start to probably discover about the car, those conditions, the weaknesses.

“I think there’ll probably be laps where I’m maybe not doing too great. But then there’ll be laps where I’m doing better because I’m learning as I go, in a way. I don’t want to say that negatively, but inevitably, there is still going to be a handful of things to pick up on, and hopefully I can be a fast learner.

“If we find our way in the points, then that would be huge. I think for now, as a team, we need to get points, but it’s really just making sure that I’m on top of the car, at one with the car. That’s the first box I need to tick.”

Source:  Read More 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *