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Formula 1 Hungarian GP

Ricciardo: First day back in F1 felt like I “never left”

Daniel Ricciardo said it felt like he had "never left" Formula 1, as he returned to action with a solid showing in Friday practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

The Australian is making his comeback with AlphaTauri at the Hungaroring this weekend after being drafted in as replacement for Nyck de Vries.

And although he was one of several drivers not to complete a flying lap in the rain-interrupted first practice session, he ended the afternoon’s FP2 running 14th, less than half a second behind team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

Speaking after he got out of the car, Ricciardo felt there was still plenty of room for improvement but was encouraged that there was no major cause for alarm with his first experience of the AT04 car.

“Position [wise], it's probably not too relevant at the moment,” he said. “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.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Scuderia AlphaTauri

Daniel Ricciardo, Scuderia AlphaTauri

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

Ricciardo believed that some improvement with the set-up of his car, allied to himself extracting more pace as he got himself up to speed with F1 machinery again, could help deliver a solid performance 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.”

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One area where Ricciardo believed he could make gains was in attacking new tyres better, having got a run on the soft and medium compounds in FP2 that will need to be run in qualifying tomorrow.

“I think the first set on medium was not too bad,” he said. “We're kind of working away at it. And then on the soft, I’m just still learning about putting a lap together.

“But in general, I think I got a good feeling in the car today. There are things for me to work on, which I'm not too concerned about. And then some things on the car that we can just keep looking at improving.”

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