Daniel Ricciardo believes his feeling behind the wheel of the AlphaTauri compared to last year’s McLaren proves time away from F1 was “the best thing”.
The Australian made a solid-if-scoreless return to the sport by finishing 13th at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was hit by Alfa Romeo’s slow-starting Zhou Guanyu at the first corner, in turn hitting Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, but was able to recover without significant damage.
A clever strategy from his AlphaTauri team allowed him to rise back through the second half of the field, eventually finishing back where he had started – ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Eight-time race winner Ricciardo left the grid having struggled over two seasons with McLaren but there were signs of optimism across the Hungaroring weekend as he slowly built up confidence and momentum through practice.
“For whatever reason, the McLaren was normally not speaking my language,” Ricciardo told media including RacingNews365.
“It certainly speaks Lando’s [Norris, former teammate] language, he knows how to get the most out of that thing.
“But I felt, especially last year, like a stalemate and it was really hard to get out of that.
“So that’s why the time off, a fresh team and environment has probably been the best thing for me.
“That’s all I can ask for: progress. Being open to learn again, that’s important as well.”
One of Ricciardo’s main concerns entering the weekend was fitness, having only driven in Red Bull’s Pirelli tyre test post-British Grand Prix.
“I actually felt a lot better than I thought [I would],” insisted the 34-year-old.
“I thought I’d get to probably lap 30 or 35 and I would be starting to really feel it.
“But I remember looking at lap 35 and thinking ‘oh, halfway there’ and feeling really encouraged.
“So it was all pretty good. I feel like I probably didn’t have enough drink in the car, so other than being a little bit thirsty at the end, I was really happy.”
This motor sports news item came from: https://racingnews365.com/alphatauri-speaking-a-better-language-on-ricciardo-f1-return