[Horner: Ricciardo has “met all expectations” on F1 comeback
Ricciardo, who was Red Bull’s third driver after his McLaren exit, was drafted in at Red Bull’s sister team to replace Nyck de Vries in Hungary.
In his two races before the summer break the 34-year-old Australian has shown he has regained his competitive edge, outqualifying team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in Hungary and in Spa’s sprint shootout. A deleted laptime in Belgian Grand Prix qualifying cost him a shot at reaching Q2.
He also impressed the team by driving back to 13th in Hungary after dropping to the rear of the field by a start melee. But he couldn’t replicate that comeback in Belgium as the team could not find a way to get him out of traffic. Meanwhile, Tsunoda took a valuable point in 10th for the beleaguered Faenza squad.
Speaking before the race weekend Red Bull team boss Horner said Ricciardo had met all expectations that Red Bull and AlphaTauri had set on him.
“I think he met it. Seeing what he did at Silverstone in the tyre test, I think after that expectations changed and he met all expectations,” Horner said.
“What he’s brought to AlphaTauri is a huge amount of experience and possibly some direction, obviously with the experience that he brings as a grand prix winner. He actually acquitted himself very, very well.”
Commenting on Ricciardo’s second race since his comeback at Spa, AlphaTauri’s technical director Jody Egginton said: “It was more difficult for Daniel, as he spent a good part of the race in traffic.
Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04
Photo by: Erik Junius
“We weren’t able to get him into free air to put together a strong sequence of laps, as he was able to do in Hungary to good effect. It was unfortunate. However, his strong performance in the Sprint race highlights we are making progress.
Team boss Franz Tost added: “We still miss some load on the car, but I’m convinced that when Daniel is more familiar with the car and tyres, he’ll do a really good job.”
Ricciardo said he was satisfied with how his comeback campaign has started given the limited time he has had in the car so far. He believes getting those two extra races in before the summer break will be an advantage for him when the 2023 season resumes at the end of August.
“I’m actually really glad I got these two before the break because it gives me something to certainly think about, build on, throw some questions back to the team,” he said.
“Nine days ago, I hadn’t driven this car, so when I put everything into perspective, I think we’re okay.”