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Horner expects Ricciardo to "bounce back" from rough F1 2024 start

Red Bull's Christian Horner expects Daniel Ricciardo to "bounce back" from his rough start to Formula 1's 2024 season and doesn't blame him for his Japanese Grand Prix shunt.

The cars of Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 and Alex Albon, Williams FW46 in the tyre barrier after they crashed on the opening lap

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ricciardo crashed out of the Suzuka race on the first lap following contact with Williams driver Alex Albon in Turn 3, which pitted both drivers into the outside tyre barriers.

With Ricciardo having already sat out Friday's first free practice session so his RB team could run rookie Ayumu Iwasa, the early exit further dented the Australian's efforts to get his 2024 season back on track.

Ricciardo hasn't managed to score points yet and has so far struggled to get ahead of high-flying team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, who raised his points tally to seven in front of his home fans to keep RB in sixth place in the constructors' standings.

But amid rumours that Ricciardo is already coming under pressure from reserve driver Liam Lawson to keep his seat, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says he expects him to bounce back soon, once he can complete a clean weekend.

"Daniel's a big boy, he's been around the block, he knows how things work," Horner said.

"I think that he just needs to get good results in the bag and then that smile will return. His team-mate is delivering and that naturally puts pressure on you.

"But he's been there before. I'm sure he'll bounce back. We are at race four."

Photo by: Pirelli

Horner didn't blame Ricciardo for the crash, which was deemed a typical lap-one racing incident by the FIA race stewards.

"It looked like Daniel was looking to the left, Alex is to the right, sort of a racing incident," he said.

"It's a brutal place to go off and thankfully, both of them were okay. But from what I saw, difficult to apportion blame."

The crash came after Ricciardo qualified 11th, just half a tenth behind Tsunoda - the closest he has been so far this year.

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And while the 34-year-old rued not being able to continue that progress during the race, completing further Suzuka running during a Pirelli tyre test on Tuesday helped him recover some mileage.

"A productive day with Pirelli, testing some 2025 compounds," he said on Tuesday night.

"Unfortunately, we had limited running this morning due to the weather conditions, but on a positive note, it allowed us to explore both wet and inter compounds which we don’t often utilise.

"The afternoon programme went smoothly; we completed our run plan and were able to provide some constructive data to Pirelli.

"Personally, it was nice to do a few laps of Suzuka after our race weekend."

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