Daniel Ricciardo is back in Formula 1 to be “kicking arse”, but will not be feeling downhearted after a difficult race weekend in Belgium.
The Aussie made his return to the grid with AlphaTauri in Hungary as the replacement to Nyck de Vries, and after a solid first outing in the AT04 at the Hungaroring, the next battleground was Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper and Thomas Maher
That outing though was not such a positive one for Ricciardo, who was eliminated in Q1 after his best time was deleted for track limits. He would then start the Belgian GP P19 and finish P16, though he did register a top-10 finish in the mixed conditions of the sprint in-between.
Daniel Ricciardo keeping return situation in “perspective”
While the race weekend overall may feel like something of a setback heading into the summer break, Ricciardo will not be looking at it this way, arguing that the amount of time he has actually had driving the AT04, plus traffic issues, made the Belgian GP look worse than it was for him.
“I think it’s just tough I guess in a race when you’re not really making progress,” he told media including PlanetF1.com.
“That’s where you’re like ‘ah’ and when you tried a few things and when you try, it doesn’t work, you lock-up or you have a moment, you kind of just feel like ‘alright, today’s maybe not the day’.
“Nine days ago I hadn’t driven this car, so when I put everything into perspective, I think we’re okay.
“And from what I understand, I think the few laps we got towards the end in clear air we actually were on a decent pace, so probably not all that bad.
“But yeah, now that I’m back in the sport, I’ve got a taste, I want to make sure I’m kicking arse.”
Ricciardo admitted that his original expectation when he got the nod from AlphaTauri’s parent team Red Bull was that he would link-up with AlphaTauri for part two of F1 2023.
That being said, Ricciardo now is very thankful for the two grands prix he got under his belt before the summer break.
“I think when I got the call-up, in my head, I was like, ‘oh, okay, but we’ll probably just wait for the summer break,'” he said.
“But I’m actually really glad I got these two before the break because it gives me something to certainly think about, build on throwing some questions back to the team, So I feel like we’re going to get to Zandvoort feeling much better prepared than if Zandvoort was our first race.
“And I think it springboards us a bit better into the second half of the season. And I think personally for me I know where my fitness is at so I can work during the summer break.”
With AlphaTauri rock bottom of the Constructors’ Championship on three points, all scored by Yuki Tsunoda, Ricciardo will at the very least after the summer break be out to ensure that he does not finish the campaign on zero.