Helmut Marko highlights where Daniel Ricciardo is ‘still lacking a bit’ in performance

Michelle Foster
AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo in thought.

AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo in thought as he walks through the paddock.

Driving the AlphaTauri AT04 for the first time in Hungary on Friday, Helmut Marko was happy with Daniel Ricciardo’s long-run pace but conceded his short runs are “still lacking a bit”.

Promoted to AlphaTauri after setting impressive lap times when he tested the Red Bull RB19 in a Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone, Ricciardo went from the fastest car on the grid to arguably the slowest on Friday when he put in his first laps in the AT04.

With the opening hour a wash-out in light of red flags, one of which was caused by his Red Bull rival Sergio Perez crashing, and heavy rain, it wasn’t until FP2 that Ricciardo set his first lap time at a grand prix weekend since splitting with McLaren last year.

Daniel Ricciardo ‘closer’ in the long runs

Laying down a 1:18.385 during his 30 laps to finish with the 14th fastest time, Ricciardo was 0.451s down on his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda’s fastest time with the Japanese driver all the way up in fourth place in the revised AT04.

But according to Motorsport Magazin, Ricciardo actually had the better pace during their long runs with Tsunoda’s tyres also showing a lot more degradation than the Aussie’s.

This was confirmed by Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko who told the publication: “He did okay. In the long runs, he was closer but in the short runs, he was still lacking a bit.”

As for Ricciardo, the Honey Badger insists his “position” in the day’s rankings didn’t mean much in the greater scheme of things.

“Look, positions, it’s probably not too relevant at the moment,” he said on Friday evening. “I think it was just more for me to feel basically where I am with the car. It all felt pretty familiar.

“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 nice.

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“And obviously this morning, we didn’t really get anything. But this afternoon, I think yeah, just a little bit on the new tyre, but nothing really I’m concerned about. The car felt okay. Yeah, to be honest, doesn’t feel too bad. A bit of work tonight, but nothing crazy.

“Look, a bit more out of me, and for sure there’s some things already I feel in the car that we can try and work on.

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

He also stated that he hadn’t been able to hook up a perfect lap of Friday, that counting for some of his deficit to his team-mate.

“I didn’t quite put the lap together, but I started to feel the limit of the car. Just keep it clean tomorrow, and I feel like I’ll be pretty content,” he added.

Ricciardo is hoping to use the AlphaTauri drive to audition for Perez’s Red Bull seat.

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