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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Ricciardo: Attention surrounding Hungary return like winning F1 title

Daniel Ricciardo has joked that the media attention surrounding his Formula 1 comeback with AlphaTauri in the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix was like he had won the world championship.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team, Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo, Scuderia AlphaTauri

The Australian, who signed for Red Bull for this season on a one-year deal in a third driver role, was parachuted in to replace sacked AlphaTauri racer Nyck de Vries after 10 races.

He was trailed by a Netflix ‘Drive To Survive’ camera crew for the Thursday media day in Budapest and his sessions with journalists in Red Bull hospitality were rammed.

His roundtable interview session in Spa also proved popular. This prompted Ricciardo to joke that he thought the media might have forgotten about him a round later and that the attention he garnered in Hungary made him feel as though he had won the world championship.

He said: “I thought today would be a lot smaller [media attendance]. I thought you sort of forgot about me already.

When asked to reflect on his Hungary return - with the eight-time grand prix winner qualifying and finishing 13th after being caught up in the Turn 1 melee that eliminated both Alpines - Ricciardo replied: “I definitely made a point to enjoy it all.

PLUS: The times that show how good Ricciardo's F1 return really was

“Even the media day, there was a lot. I joked, it's like I just won a world championship.

 

“There was so much interest, but it was something that you just have to soak it all up and enjoy it.

“I think the weekend as a whole went well. I was kind of knackered on Monday; I was very low key and just reflected on it.”

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ricciardo said that while taking stock, he had come to appreciate that his weekends should be defined by whether he had maximised the car rather than just race results.

He continued: “The main thing was, yes I was happy with my performance, but I was just happy about the way I was going racing again.

“The weekend is probably as chaotic it felt. I really enjoyed it. I felt like everything was under control and it was busy, but it wasn't too much.”

Ricciardo, who was paid off in 2022 to leave his McLaren contract after only two of its scheduled three years, added: “It was just a more enjoyable experience than I guess I'd probably found myself in more often in the last year or so. That was really important.

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“I qualified 13th, finished 13th, but I felt a lot happier than that would show.

“A lot of the time we're driven so much about the result and our happiness is dictated on if we get a podium or not. But to be happy with not even points, I think is the way I want to go racing now.

“Obviously, I'm still very results driven, but I felt like I'd done everything I needed to.

“I was still happy with everything I put into the weekend's and also the support I got from the team.”

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