Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2023

“Outstanding” Ricciardo was “back to his old self” in Mexican GP – Horner

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner lavished praise on Daniel Ricciardo after he delivered AlphaTauri’s best result of the season so far in Mexico.

Ricciardo started fourth and finished seventh in his fourth grand prix for the team this year. He originally returned to the team he previously raced for in 2013 & ’14 at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July as a replacement for Nyck de Vries, but missed five rounds after he was injured in practice at Zandvoort.

Last Sunday’s race was disrupted by a red flag shortly before half-distance which came while Ricciardo was running fifth. The interruption helped George Russell and Lando Norris gain on the AlphaTauri driver. Both ultimately finished ahead of him, though Ricciardo was hounding Russell for sixth place as the race ended and the Mercedes driver doubted he could have kept his rival behind for another lap.

Horner said Ricciardo’s performance showed why Red Bull had been keen to get him back in a racing seat as soon as possible following his ousting from McLaren at the end of last year.

“It was great to see Daniel performing so well and fully endorse the reason why we brought him back into AlphaTauri just prior to the summer break,” he said. “I thought he was outstanding this weekend, fighting a Mercedes in a AlphaTauri.

“Had it not been for the red flag, he would have probably finished yet further up. So a great performance from him and he certainly looked like the Daniel of old this weekend.”

Ricciardo’s qualifying performance drew comment as he lined up ahead of Sergio Perez, whose seat he has been tipped to take. “Look at the delta to Max, though,” noted Horner, “it was less than a tenth I think, so a remarkable performance by him.”

On his return from injury in Austin, Ricciardo finished last of the runners as he collected car damage in the race, while team mate Yuki Tsunoda took eighth. Horner said Ricciardo looked “back to his old self” in Mexico.

“You can see he’s relaxed, he’s confident and I thought this weekend he came into the weekend fully motivated after a tricky Austin, coming back from injury, I thought he did a did a great job this weekend.”

Bringing Ricciardo to AlphaTauri’s line-up has added much-needed experience to the team, said Horner. Red Bull’s secondary F1 team began the season with de Vries, who had a single start to his name from 2022, and Tsunoda, who entered his third campaign this year.

“I think he just brings them a bunch of experience,” said Horner. “They had two inexperienced drivers in the car and I think he’s just put a bit of direction into their engineering and I think they’re benefiting from that.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Mexican Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Mexican Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

40 comments on ““Outstanding” Ricciardo was “back to his old self” in Mexican GP – Horner”

  1. I think that’s enough foreplay. Sign him already for next season Red Bull.

  2. Those F1 people really overuse and abuse the word “delta”. What an awful trend.

    1. Still less abused than “alpha”. Two teams already have it in their name.

      1. Well, one team does.

      2. Not for long!

    2. What’s wrong with the word delta there? it’s used perfectly correctly, not abused or over-used at all. It’s just a short way of saying “lap time difference”

    3. At the end of the day is ahead in the go to phrase leaderboard in F1.

    4. No, this just shows your ignorance. Delta Δ is a Greek letter used in science to denote a quantifiable change, in this case, the difference between laptimes.

    5. Agreed.

      Under rotation and sub optimal bug me. Thanks McLaren/Ron Dennis. I’m pretty sure that’s where all this guff came from.

  3. Praising other teams’ drivers doesn’t boost confidence of his own driver I guess.

    1. “Other” team is a bit subjective

      1. “Other” team is a bit subjective

        Middle part of the same team? (It would be the rear part of the same team, but Perez…)

  4. Soon back to his old seat too

  5. Robert Henning
    31st October 2023, 11:13

    Ricciardo getting the most coveted seat in F1 right now by driving a super fast car without any benchmark is certainly one way to do it. That said given when Perez and Tsunoda are at, a potentially slow Daniel is still far more sensible and would not cause crash damage. So a win move in that sense. The cost cap in 2024 is not gonna be fun for RB with Perez costing them easily more than 5m.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      31st October 2023, 13:50

      The cost cap in 2024 is not gonna be fun for RB with Perez costing them easily more than 5m.

      JOTD – joke of the day! :-) Hi Christian!

    2. The cost cap in 2024 is not gonna be fun for RB with Perez costing them easily more than 5m.

      Horner compared the FIA audit to a colonoscopy, but it’s understandable if the auditors had homed in on the source of the words.

    3. -Driver salaries don’t count toward the cost cap.

      -I think Yuki is really fast and would have finished close to Daniel (he also had a big tire advantage with brand new hards, but might have been using them so hard at the beginning that their pace would fall off a cliff later), but I agree I think it’s clear he lacks the discipline or demonstrated a learning curve to be put into the RBR yet. For Daniel, the only issue is his pace. We know the rest is fine.

      -think the fact that Daniel was always well liked at RBR, got along great with Max, likes the same setup up as Max and all the good commercial BS, means this is a match made in heaven. RBR will or already has thought of all those factors, which means, that I will be shocked if Daniel doesn’t replace Checo for the 2024 season as long as he drives well in the remaining races.

      1. Yes, it’s always like this: first they say perez is safe in red bull, then shocking announcement: perez to leave red bull in 2024!

  6. As much as I’d like to see Dan with his mojo back, it’s one race. I’ll wait until season finish before I decide whether it’s back or not.

    Perez will certainly start next season at RBR. Whether he finishes there is another matter.

    1. Agreed, and last year the Mexican Grand Prix was actually one of Ricciardo’s few good drives in the McLaren. I hope he’s back to his old self, but it’s too early to tell.

      1. Yes, let’s not forget monza 2021: there was nothing in that race indicating he wasn’t the same driver as the red bull ricciardo, but just look at the rest of that season; however with 3 remaining races it should be easy to see if he’s back or not.

  7. He drove a superb race for mcLaren in Monza in 21. Didn’t bring him back in the top tier then, so I’m still sceptic over this 1 performance last sunday.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      31st October 2023, 17:17

      Yeah, I’m not sure why he’s unable to perform – clearly it’s not a matter of talent but a mental issue.

      1. There have been multiple stories about why Dan couldn’t compete at his best in the McLaren, some people just don’t want to read them/believe them.

        1. Like Perez at Red Bull.

          But people have too much fun on the bandwagon.

    2. Yeah, the major difference being it is known by everybody why that was: the car needed to be driven in a way that was the polar opposite of the way he likes to drive. It’s not a coincidence that Monza and Mexico City GP are two tracks with basically only one challenging braking zone and fairly simple layouts.

      Maybe it won’t work out, but two solid but unspectacular weekends after being out of the car for nearly 10 months + followed by another long break after which he was locked into driving his teammate’s setup (who has the opposite style to him) because there was no time to work on his own paired with damage early in the race, indicates he hasn’t gone from struggling to fast. Just that this is the first race he was truly used to the car AND had an opportunity to actually set it up for his preferences. It definitely helped though that it was at a track he has always excelled at.

      1. Exactly the same as Perez, people only seem to allow Ricciardo that excuse though, it’s become fashionable to stick the boot in on Checo.

  8. Interesting. I agree that Ricciardo is back to his old self – starting 4th, finishing 7th – though on most teams that would not count as cause for commendation. Ricciardo has “led the pack” in over-rating himself, as his wanderings in the Alpine and McLaren deserts illustrate. RB may well want to consider a replacement for Perez – who should have, IMHO, been penalized for his novice move on Turn 1, which could have also taken out Le Clerc and his own team-mate – but I don’t see Ricciardo as being any better over the long haul than Perez. Unless you highly rate the nasty spectacle of drinking champagne out of your own shoes… I don’t…

    1. Perez – who should have, IMHO, been penalized for his novice move on Turn 1

      His race ending wasn’t penalty enough?

    2. Yes, and here you can see the stewards aren’t really honest with what they say: “we penalise the move, not the consequences”, BUT I would bet if russell had come worse off in qatar and if leclerc had come worse off here, hamilton and perez would’ve been penalised.

  9. He was great but Yuki overall I think Yuki is still faster than him. Yuki should beat him next year. If Ricciardo can convincingly beat Yuki which I seriously doubt it then they can consider him for RBR.

    1. He was great but Yuki overall I think Yuki is still faster than him. Yuki should beat him next year. If Ricciardo can convincingly beat Yuki which I seriously doubt it then they can consider him for RBR.

      Horner reckons Ricciardo is “back to his old self” – a quick look at the position graph in seems to cast doubt on the alleged magnificence.

      Basically, DR started 4th, finished 7th, in a car that his much derided teammate brought from 18th on the grid to 8th (and then tangled with Piastri trying to take 7th)
      That looks like someone failing to get the maximum out of the car.

      But, if you’re putting up a narrative to justify Perez not being in the RBR next season, it’s almost believable.

      1. derided teammate brought from 18th on the grid to 8th

        Once you make your way up to 8th you find yourself looking at the sharp end of the spear.

        They way you try to spin the narrative, a few more laps, not tangling with Oscar, and Yuki would have been fighting with Loois. Then again, If your auntie had ballz, she’d be your uncle.

        1. They way you try to spin the narrative, a few more laps, not tangling with Oscar, and Yuki would have been fighting with Loois.

          Not spinning anything, merely pointing out that the car had more pace than many others on the grid and that Yuki, for all his rashness on the Piastri move, took the car forward, a lot, relative to the other AT.
          On a sample of one you can’t say much, but that’s exactly what Horner is trying to do.

          Do consider that the qualification for DR was optimised by YS offerring a tow on every available opportunity. I presume AT did that knowing that they could sacrifice Yuki’s position as he was taking a major parts replacement penalty anyway.

      2. SteveP, on the other hand, Tsunoda didn’t actually pass many drivers on track – most of the places he made up were from other drivers making their pit stops just before Magnussen crashed, which ended up dropping them behind Tsunoda.

        We know Tsunoda was running a two stop strategy, and if he had been forced to make that second pit stop under normal racing conditions, the timing information for the period before the red flag indicates that Tsunoda would have dropped behind Sargeant – i.e. Tsunoda would have fallen back to around 16th place.

        Without the red flag, it’s extremely unlikely that Tsunoda would have been in a position to fight Piastri for a position. Before the red flag, he was 12 seconds down on Piastri and dropping away from Piastri as Piastri had pitted for tyres, whilst Tsunoda was on worn tyres, as he was approaching the end of his first stint on the hard tyres, and needed to make a second stop.

        It’s why it may look good for Tsunoda on the surface, but when you look at what was actually happening in the laps up to the red flag, Tsunoda’s performance would have looked less impressive if he’d had to make that second stop under normal conditions and not during the red flag period.

      3. Of course CH has to talk good about Ricciardo as his performance in Mexico was exceptional. He likes him and want to see him at his best. But you need large sample size of data to prove it. Which means whole 2024 season or at least till summer break next year where depending on performance they can consider to swap drivers.

    2. Ricciardo won’t be in Alpha Tauri much longer. Back to his old seat quicker than you will expect

    3. Yuki is fast, but keeps on proving his brain isn’t fast or mature enough yet no matter how fast he is. Also, Yuki benefited from the red flag, had brand new hards versus 7-lap old hards for Daniel and we have no idea if his tires would have lasted well after he pushed them extremely hard.

      Anyway, I think Yuki is good with much more potential than Lawson (atrocious luck for Yuki and extreme luck for Lawson in Singapore had people hyping him like he had done something amazing despite the fact he would have finished in 13th or 14th without 5 unlikely DNFs helping him) who finished with the same number of points as Logan Sargeant. However, Daniel is the only teammate to ever beat Max over a season and edged him in their stats combined over three seasons (though it wouldn’t happen again w/Max fully polished). So, your assertion that Yuki is better already is basically only based on your huge Yuki fandom.

      1. Yes, good point about lawson, I never got the impression he outperformed tsunoda, and ofc we know ricciardo was a pretty good driver at red bull, definitely better than tsunoda, otherwise tsunoda would’ve got a red bull seat by now, we just have to see if he can perform consistently, like he did pretty much throughout his career except at mclaren, where he did that like 10% of the races.

  10. Pigs ear on the link.
    Edit facility much needed,

Comments are closed.