Daniel Ricciardo reveals familiar feeling after ending 243-day break from Formula 1

Sam Cooper
Daniel Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri car. Budapest, Hungary July 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri car. Budapest, Hungary July 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo said it felt like he never really left after he completed his first Formula 1 session since the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Australian went from third driver to lining up in the pit lane after he was called in to replace Nyck de Vries in the AlphaTauri.

While his FP1 running was minimal due to Sergio Perez’s crash and the wet weather, he completed 30 laps in FP2 as he got acclimated to life in the cockpit once again.

But speaking after Friday’s running, Ricciardo noted that it felt like he had never left.

“Positions are probably not too relevant at the moment,” the 34-year-old suggested. “But I think it was more just for me today to feel basically where I am with the car and it felt pretty familiar.

“I think obviously there’s a lot of outside attention but once I put the helmet on and got in the car, it felt in a way like I never really left so that was that was nice.

“Obviously this morning we didn’t really get anything but this afternoon I think just felt a little bit on the new tyre but nothing really I’m concerned about. To be honest, it doesn’t feel too bad so we’re going to work tonight but nothing crazy.”

Even if Ricciardo feels at home once again, he still faces a tough task to get into the points on Sunday with the AT04 proving to be one of the slower cars this year. In FP2 Ricciardo finished P14 but his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda was up in fourth.

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“I think [there is] a bit more out of me and I’m sure there’s some things already I feel in the car that we can try and work on,” he said.

“Right now I’m quite optimistic. It looked like Yuki as well had a pretty good day. So yeah, I think if we put all these things together maybe tomorrow we can do okay.”

Ricciardo and Tsunoda both have a mission to score some points for AlphaTauri with their tally of two representing the fewest of any team on the grid.

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