Daniel Ricciardo’s comeback ‘has taken shine off’ Yuki Tsunoda’s season

Michelle Foster
AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda.

Could Daniel Ricciardo be a problem for Yuki Tsunoda?

Beating Yuki Tsunoda in his very first race with AlphaTauri, F1 paddock journalist Mat Coch believes Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in Budapest took “the shine” off Tsunoda’s season.

Back on the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix after being loaned to AlphaTauri to replace the ousted Nyck de Vries, Ricciardo not only out-qualified Tsunoda, P13 to 17, but beat him in the grand prix.

Crossing the line in 13th place while Tsunoda was P15, Ricciardo was the better-placed of the two teammates despite his AT04 receiving a hefty whack at Turn 1 on the opening lap when he was rear-ended by Esteban Ocon which dropped him down to P18.

Daniel Ricciardo’s comeback has ‘taken the shine off Yuki Tsunoda’s season’

Tsunoda was able to get the better of the Honey Badger at the Belgian Grand Prix, although that Sunday Ricciardo had made life difficult for himself with a track limit violation in qualifying putting him on the back row of the grid.

Coch reckons Ricciardo’s performance in Budapest belied a general belief that Tsunoda had been wringing everything and more out of his AT04 in the first 10 races of the championship.

“Before Hungry I’d have probably put him in the top 10 quite comfortably, but the reason I’ve stopped short of that is twofold,” Coch said on the Fox Sports podcast, Pit Talk.

“One is Daniel’s performance in Hungry — he came in and he beat Yuki Tsunoda on day one.

“That says a bit about Daniel, but it also tells me a bit about Yuki as well, and what that tells me is that maybe he wasn’t getting the most out of the car, maybe he wasn’t doing that good a job.

“For someone to come in and beat him, having no knowledge of that car, how good is he? He rebounded a little bit in Belgium, but for me that took a big part of the shine off Yuki Tsunoda’s season.”

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Can’t buy into the ‘he’s destroyed Nyck de Vries’ argument

Coch also feels the comments that Tsunoda, comfortably ahead of his early-season teammate de Vries, “destroyed” the Dutchman had a new light shone on it when it was revealed that Christian Horner never bought into the idea of de Vries being a Red Bull driver.

“De Vries never looked like a Red Bull driver to Christian Horner, and that’s the reason he’s no longer in the program,” Coch said.

“If a driver’s not looking like a Red Bull driver, why continue that relationship? They’re Christian Horner’s words, not mine, but I see the logic there.

“So regardless of Yuki Tsunoda’s performance, Nyck had a finite life span there anyway. If he hadn’t won over Christian Horner, he was always going to be on the outer, you’d have thought, at the end of the year.

“As a result, again, pre Hungry I’d have bought into the ‘he’s destroyed Nyck de Vries’ argument. Now I put less weight into that as well, and as a result, Yuki’s performances are less impressive to me.

“It’s not to say he hasn’t done a good job; I think he has. He’s probably just outside my 10. But for those two reasons — Daniel’s performance and Christian’s comments — I wouldn’t put him in my top 10.”

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