Ricciardo chasing more Mexico performances

Daniel Ricciardo is looking for more

Daniel Ricciardo is looking for more Mexico-like performances. Image: Charniaux / XPB Images

Daniel Ricciardo has pointed to the Mexico City Grand Prix as an example of what he’s looking for from the 2024 Formula 1 season.

Ricciardo will remain with Scuderia AlphaTauri next year after joining the Faenza-based operation midway through 2023 in place of the hapless Nyck de Vries.

The Australian immediately impressed, out-qualifying Yuki Tsunoda at the Hungarian Grand Prix despite having never sat in the AT04 before the weekend.

His F1 return was curtailed by a crash in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix, which left him with a broken hand and on the sidelines for five races.

When he returned, the Scuderia AlphaTauri had been significantly upgraded.

A difficult United States Grand Prix followed as Ricciardo played catch up before hitting his stride in Mexico a week later. It proved a defining moment.

“A weekend like Mexico, that’s a weekend where I felt everything I needed to feel again,” Ricciardo enthused.

“Obviously the team was very happy, everyone was happy, and those things help everything move forward.

“It’s just really about trying to have those weekends.”

Ricciardo left the sport at the end of 2022 uncertain whether he’d return.

The time out of the cockpit worked wonders and reinvigorated the 34-year-old, who has come to accept that success in F1 doesn’t necessarily mean winning races.

However, that doesn’t mean he no longer holds that ambition. The West Australian making no secret of his desire to return to the all-conquering Red Bull team in future.

For now, his focus is on delivering for Scuderia AlphaTauri – set to become known as Racing Bulls for 2024 – and driving the team forward as it undergoes its own transformation.

“Okay, it doesn’t have to be always a fourth place in qualifying or whatever,” Ricciardo said, referencing his Mexico City qualifying performance.

“It’s to put the car in a position where people don’t expect to see that car, and that’s the stuff that excites you.

“The fourth felt like a pole position because, yeah, it felt like the AlphaTauri this year had no place to be on the second row of the grid. It just didn’t ever look like that.

“That sort of stuff gets me excited. It definitely gets the butterflies going inside me.

“And if that can happen, then obviously it could open up doors later on to fight for wins again.

“But I’m not going to dictate this second phase of my career just on that, you know, dictate my happiness, dictate how I classify success in the second phase,” he added.

“To win again would be a bonus.

“It’s also given me a little bit of, I feel like I’m not carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, and it’s kind of nice.”

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