Daniel Ricciardo claims first day back in F1 ‘normal’

Daniel Ricciardo claims first day back in F1 'normal'

Daniel Ricciardo claimed that his comeback to Formula 1 with AlphaTauri ‘felt normal’ after Friday practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo admitted it felt like he had “never left” Formula 1 after a strong performance in Friday practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Australian will make his comeback with AlphaTauri at the Hungaroring this weekend after being brought in as a replacement for Nyck de Vries after the latter was axed for poor performance. Ricciardo is up for action for the remaining 12 races of the season.

Ricciardo was one of many drivers who failed to turn in a flying lap during the first practice session that was interrupted by rain, but he finished the second practice session of the day in 14th place, just.063 seconds behind teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Rain and two red flag periods at the Hungaroring hampered Ricciardo’s first practice after his comeback.

Speaking after Friday’s practice, Ricciardo believed there was still much potential for improvement but felt optimistic that his initial experience with the AT04 car had not raised any significant red flags.

“It felt normal to be back in the car, and that was nice,” Ricciardo told Viaplay. “This morning, I think I got one dry lap, and even the one lap, I already felt: ‘Hey, this is cool’.

“Position [wise], it’s probably not too relevant at the moment. I think it was more just for me today to feel basically where I am with a car and it all 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 all felt like in a way I never really left. So that was nice.”

Ricciardo thinks that some adjustments to the car’s setup, along with his own ability to pick up more speed as he becomes used to F1 equipment once more, might contribute to a strong showing in qualifying.

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

“So 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.”

After getting a run on the soft and medium compounds in FP2 which will need to be executed during qualifying tomorrow, Ricciardo thought he could improve in one area by exploiting new tyres more effectively.

“In the afternoon, I think the first set of Mediums was not too bad, we were kind of working away at it, and then the Softs, it’s just still learning and putting a lot together.

“But in general, I think I got a good feeling with the car today and there are things for me to work on, which I am not too concerned about.

“There are some things on the car that we can just keep looking at for improving.”

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