Helmut Marko praises the driver he feels is a ‘good recommendation for the future’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner in the garage.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner.

Helmut Marko has applauded Daniel Ricciardo as a “good recommendation for the future” after the Honey Badger qualified his AlphaTauri up in fourth place in Mexico, splitting the Red Bulls.

In only his second race weekend back on the grid after a hand injury, Ricciardo’s performance in Saturday’s qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix caught the eye when he finished just 0.2s off pole position.

Giving a welcome tow by his teammate Yuki Tsunoda that helped him progress through the first two segments, Ricciardo had to qualify on merit in Q3 and that’s what he did.

Daniel Ricciardo says ‘why not’ to retaining P4 on Sunday

The Aussie’s time put him an impressive P4, a tenth down on Red Bull’s World Champion Max Verstappen and 0.041s ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Marko, who welcomed Ricciardo back to AlphaTauri earlier this season with an eye to putting the Aussie in Perez’s seat at some point, was very happen.

“Incredible,” the Austrian told Sky Deutschland. “He really got everything out of it.

“Great comeback after his hand injury and a good recommendation for the future.”

As for Ricciardo, he reckons he can fight to hold onto fourth place in the Grand Prix even though he concedes the bigger teams will have more oomph on Sunday.

“Why not, like why we can’t stay at the front and fight for where we are,” he said.

“Yuki was great and gave me the tow in Q1 and Q2 but Q3 we got that on merit so it’s not like we had a bit of help to determine the final grip position.

“Part of you always expect to top teams to show a little bit more on Sunday and maybe better tyre wear, things like this, but right now I’m like, why not?”

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He added: “From lap 1 yesterday we started the weekend with a little bit of a different set-up and it was something I felt comfortable with.

“I think there was definitely a positive like chip on my shoulder

“I know I haven’t done much this year race-wise, but I feel a lot like my old self.

“And I feel like yeah, I can do well. A lot of things that were there, and it kind of brought out a lot of confidence.

“Even FP3 in the morning, I was P9, and I wasn’t happy at all with my lap. But as opposed to kind of being frustrated with that, it gave me confidence coming into quali that I can clean it up and we’re going to be well inside the top 10.”

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost is hoping for points from his driver with AlphaTauri down in 10th in the Constructors’ Championship but only two points behind Haas.

“I hope that we can bring home a good position. That means we should be in the top six or seven. And that would actually be very good,” he said.

“There will be three more races and we’ll also bring some upgrades [so that] we’re ready for the finale. And the goal is clearly that we’ll at least leave Haas and Alfa Romeo behind us.”

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