Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri, Hungaroring, 2023

Ricciardo believes first-lap collision cost him chance of points on comeback

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo finished a lapped 13th on his Formula 1 comeback at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but was encouraged by his race.

Ricciardo started 13th but lost five places on lap one after being hit from behind by Zhou Guanyu. He said “there was a little bit of damage on the back of the diffuser” from the contact but the car “was more or less fine.”

The collision dropped Ricciardo to last place. He recovered to ninth before he made his first pit stop on lap 18 of 70, then fell back to the rear of the field. However in a long, 40-lap final stint on medium tyres Ricciardo passed Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and gained four places when others pitted to make it back up to 13th.

He said he was keen to take the opportunity to run in clear air when possible. “I was kind of just stuck behind a bit of a train with Logan Sargeant and someone else. I just knew in dirty air, even with these new cars, this circuit is definitely a hard one to follow.”

“But I think they pitted quite early, and as soon as they did I felt like I had the grip coming back in the tyre. So I thought, ‘okay, let’s see what we can do in clear air’ and that was better.

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“Then we pitted relatively early and we got put back in traffic and that’s when I was like, ‘yeah, just whatever we can do, let’s have a thing to give me clear air’, because it’s so hard to pass and we have been a little bit down on top speed this weekend.”

Ricciardo was encouraged by his car’s treatment of its tyres early in the race to gamble on a long stint on the medium rubber.

“I actually felt good with the tyres. They lose grip quite early with just how hot the temperature is but then I felt I could manage it.

“So that’s why I was confident to also take a punt on the medium [compound], and we went from there. Other than really turn one, which was obviously not my doing, I thought it was a really good race.”

Ricciardo finished ahead of team mate Yuki Tsunoda, whose lost places with a slow first pit stop, and felt he got a more conclusive learning experience with his strategy focusing on clear air. He said that without the lap one incident “I believe we could have really fought for a points finish.”

“Having the pace, having the clear air, and making a few mistakes, learning from those, knowing what the car likes, what it doesn’t, I think I learnt a lot from the race,” he said. “And honestly, just coming into it physically, not doing a race distance in eight months, especially around here, it’s one of the tougher ones. That’s one of the biggest smiles I have right now. I actually felt really good out there.”

“I was just really trying to enjoy it,” he added. “Of course you still make sure you stay focussed, but just enjoying it. And the crowd was pretty cool. I heard a lot of cheers so it was fun.”

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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23 comments on “Ricciardo believes first-lap collision cost him chance of points on comeback”

  1. Optimistic thinking, he struggled trying to pass Sargent. To get into the points he would of been forced to pass stronger drivers than Sargent or nail a tire strategy with a Safety Car.

    Would love for him to prove me wrong and get his car in the points.

    1. Yeah I think Danny is forgetting that, without that collision, he’d also have 2 Alpine’s taking up points positions too…

    2. @blueruck He had diffuser damage following the impact from Zhou. On boards from Zhou show bits of carbon fibre being sent into the air, then he may well have got more damage to his front wing when he was pushed into the back of Gasly.

    3. He was only a few seconds of 11th. So, it’s not that crazy if we discount the Alpine part. There’s really no way AT should ever finish higher than about 15 without retirements in the field because the only teams they can compete with are Haas, Alfa and one of the Williams in Sargeant.

      1. off* 11th

  2. As I was guessing, Ricciardo beat Tsunoda from the first race. Of course, both drivers encountered problems, so not the fairest comparison. But 1) Ricciardo beat Tsunoda in qualifying; 2) it was Ricciardo’s first race in this car this year, unlike Tsunoda, who is familiar with the car. So more to come. Tsunoda is a waste of seat – he lacks talent, hasn’t shown any flash promise during this 2,5 years in F1 and should be replaced from next year with more promising rookie.

    1. @osvaldas31 At least the amount of problems or out-of-control factors hampering them was equal at 1-1, so nullified impact, not to mention Ricciardo got some damage from the opening lap collision & still managed to finish higher.

      1. @jerejj (in case it works)
        Agreed. What impressed me from the weekend was (using my own interpretation) the number of drivers seemingly disappointed & admonishing themselves and/or their team believing they could have done even better, achieved a higher goal. That maybe a higher performance was achievable, rather than a “that’s not our race ” attitude.

    2. As I was guessing, Ricciardo beat Tsunoda from the first race.

      So, you were guessing that AT would screw up Tsundoda’s first stop and put him out in the worst possible place, and then compound that with other poor decisions?

    3. And his attitude is just horrendous… I can’t stand his radio rants.

  3. Ricciardo’s performance showed more that Nick De Vries and Tsunoda hasn’t been doing a brilliant job this year.

    1. Daniel was coached by Red Bull Racing because his driving technique wasn’t good enough. I don’t know if that is another way of saying his driving was worse than Nyck’s, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nyck was better.

      1. Coached by RedBull to remove all the crap he’d been fed from his McLaren engineer. All the redbull drivers will be getting similar coaching, Nyck would have been too, all teams do this. Dan just needed more coaching because he had picked up so many bad habits.

        1. Yes. They were continuing to deprogram his days at McLaren where he first had to change his approach to a non-sensical car and didn’t do badly in his first season. But before his second season at McLaren they asked him to adapt Norris’ style and that’s when the wheels well and truly came off.

  4. At least he still outperformed Tsunoda considering the damage he got from that collision & that both suffered from one out-of-control factor.

  5. I think his biggest achievement this race was to drive a 40-lap final stint on medium tyres without notable drop off. I don’t think De Vries was able to pull that off. Apart from that, there was little difference in speed between Ricciardo and Tsunoda. Still a solid first race and he can rightfully be pleased.

    1. I don’t think De Vries was able to pull that off.

      De Vries had one race on this build of tyre – that was part of the change that half the fan base are complaining about. “Changes mid-season”
      Note that the words from many different commentators were variations on the Alpha Romeo is “liking those tyres” on this track.
      It made a big difference to at least one team, why not two? and then ruin the race of one member of that team with a bad stop.

      Too many variables to start saying Daniel did anything other than drive steadily and finish.

  6. He drove well and he could end up winning som points without this collision but he understands that these things happen in this sport and he will be looking to get rid of such mistakes in his future races. Overall, it was a pretty good comeback race for him and he’s likely to win some points in the next few races.

  7. It was his own clumsy fault, that incident reeked of indecision.

    1. Are you referring to Daniel being hit from behind being his own fault?

      1. Because he didn’t go for a pass. He hesitated in overtaking the car infront and EVENTUALLY decided to roll in behind it, at that point he was hit from behind because the pack was too closed up.

        1. Are you thinking that he should have gone to the left of Ocon? He would have had to be very careful with Gasly steaming down the outside – it may have ended in a much bigger impact than what happened with Ricciardo taking the blame for changing line and giving Gasly nowhere to go except over the top…

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