Just like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the intrepid Daniel Ricciardo has marked his triumphant return to the Formula One grid. Piloting the sleek AlphaTauri for the first time in a main event, the Australian ace carved out a respectable 13th place finish at the nail-biting Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite a tumultuous start and a series of collisions on the opening lap, Ricciardo remained unfazed and shared his thoughts post-race on the experience, evoking the thrill and challenge of the event. He likened his first race back to being a rookie at an NFL game, stating, “It was a welcome back.
I feel like it’s probably like your first NFL game, someone is going to put a big tackle on you to welcome you to the sport. So, I guess it was a version of that”. It was a comeback punctuated by the crushing reality of a collision, which saw Ricciardo's hopes of a top-ten finish quickly evaporate.
“As soon as I got hit, obviously I knew I was pretty much going to go to the end of the field," he said. "I was immediately obviously disappointed."
From Setbacks to Comebacks: A Strong Showing for Ricciardo
Despite the early collision and the subsequent setback, Ricciardo was determined to see the race through, reflecting on the importance of this return. “But the next thought was please don’t have damage.
I need to do this race; I need to learn this car. For myself as well, just keep learning and physically, just to do a race distance”. With minor damage and a resilient spirit, Ricciardo was able to press on and complete the race, even managing to carve out a strong showing in spite of the challenges.
“Fortunately, the damage was really minor, and I could get on with it. After that, we made a good race,” he said. Ricciardo’s return to the track was always going to be a momentous occasion. But the real question mark was how he would perform after an eight-month hiatus, particularly on such a challenging circuit.
Much to his credit, he emerged from the ordeal with positive reflections, saying, “I felt good. I felt good in the car and that was something that was certainly a question mark, not doing it for eight months, especially around here it’s a tough track. So, other than Lap 1, Turn 1, a good day”.
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