Daniel Ricciardo has left the F1 world speechless with a brilliant drive in his first Grand Prix race with AlphaTauri. The Aussie driver was back on the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday for the first time since being dumped by McLaren last year.
Ricciardo finished in 13th place, but it was a remarkable result considering he outperformed teammate Yuki Tsunoda (15th) and had to battle back after falling to 18th on the opening corner. The Aussie was forced off track after he was hit from behind by Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu.
EMBARRASSING: Daniel Ricciardo photo shredded by F1 fans
However he managed to make up five places in a sensational drive that showed he hasn't lost any of his abilities. Ricciardo managed to make medium tyres last a whopping 40 laps.
In his first race for eight months, the 34-year-old admitted he was concerned about surviving the heat and sheer physicality of the Hungaroring circuit. "But I feel like I still have a bit of energy," he said afterwards.
"I was certainly I don’t want to say worried, a word less than worried. This is always one of the most physical races, let alone having not done this for eight months. I thought after 30 laps I would be singing for a breath of fresh air, but I actually felt great.
"The race pace was good. It was unlucky for me at the start to drop to the back.
"When we’re a team who need to have everything to go well to get points, I knew it was impossible to get back into the top 10. But I'm glad I could continue the race and learn from the car. In the end, I’m happy with the race I did."
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 23, 2023
F1 fans and commentators were in awe of Ricciardo's 'ridiculous' drive after so long out. He also outperformed Tsunoda in qualifying and gave AlphaTauri their best starting grid position in four races.
That was a mega final stint from Ricciardo, to go that distance on mediums is ridiculous.
— Jack Fawcett (@JackFawcett1704) July 23, 2023
Ricciardo has recovered to a very safe 13th place and a long medium tyre stint is still yielding personal best laps. A very good return that, especially after getting caught in contact at Turn 1 #F1 #HungarianGP
— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) July 23, 2023
Ricciardo’s first weekend after his comeback has been excellent
In the first 10 events this season, TSU beat his teammate 8 times both in qualifying and in the races
This weekend, RIC was better in both sessions
He drove a solid race despite being hit by ZHO in turn 1#F1…
— Formula Data Analysis (@FDataAnalysis) July 23, 2023
Especially after getting hit in turn 1 doesn’t matter if it was a bad stop for Yuki. Not a lot went right for Ricciardo and he still got p13 in that dump truck and made that last set of mediums last 🔥
— The Cupitals (@TheCupitals) July 23, 2023
i cannot believe ricciardo is p10??
— daniela (@csainzz_) July 23, 2023
He got hit during turn 1,
From P8 to p18 after pit stp,
almost 40 laps with medium tyres!
Finsihed p13, still what an incredible weekend Daniel Ricciardo!! #f1 @AlphaTauriF1 @danielricciardo pic.twitter.com/C6bRhTmxHS
— DANIEL IS BACK 🏎️ (@queenn_won) July 23, 2023
Max Verstappen wins Hungarian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen needed only a few seconds to stamp his authority on the race before winning for the seventh-straight time. Lewis Hamilton started from pole position ahead of Verstappen, but was muscled out at the first corner as Verstappen never looked back.
Australia's Oscar Piastri finished fifth, while McLaren teammate Lando Norris finished second for the second-straight race. Red Bull's Sergio Perez was third for a much-needed second podium in six races.
Red Bull's 12th straight win, including the final race of 2022, broke McLaren's record for consecutive team wins set in 1988. "People forget how hard it is to win 12 in a row, even when you have the fastest car," Verstappen said. "Hopefully we can keep this momentum going for a long time."
Verstappen's career win total now stands at 44 - the same number as Hamilton. "Hopefully I don't stay on 44, that would be terrible," Verstappen joked. "Hopefully I can get to 45 quickly."
Hamilton said afterwards: “I haven’t been at my best for over a year. I think yesterday felt like I was me being back to my best.
“Max got a better start than me. I just got a bit of wheelspin and was a bit compromised after that. I think we may have been able to finish third with a slightly better start, but fourth is still OK.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 23, 2023
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.