Daniel Ricciardo has praised the “familiar feeling” that his AlphaTauri has given him on his return to Formula 1, but expects challenges at the upcoming races.
One of the big question marks hanging over his return was whether he would extract more from the AT04 than Nyck de Vries, given that it is one of the slowest cars on the grid.
Ricciardo admitted that he might struggled with the car’s “limitations” in the early races with the team, given his lack of experience behind the wheel.
His debut at the Hungary Grand Prix was close to a points finish had he not been caught up in a first-lap incident with Zhou Guanyu, while he struggled to match teammate Yuki Tsunoda at the Belgian GP.
Ricciardo gave his verdict when speaking to media, including RacingNews365: “That one lap I did, I already felt like I was getting the feedback that maybe I would expect. That was important.
“I expect still some challenges along the way, but the first impression was that it did give me a little bit more of a familiar feeling.”
Ricciardo: First lap in car gave me confidence
Ricciardo was quick to point out that while he managed to beat Tsunoda in qualifying and comfortably improved his pace during his comeback race in Hungary, there is still more for him to learn before thinking about scoring points.
“I know this sport well enough not to just assume that ‘Yeah, every time now I’m gonna be quicker’ there’s still going to be more for me to learn with the car,” he explained.
“Even the race [in Hungary] we hadn’t done many long runs, but in the long runs before Sunday I was probably a little bit behind and still learning about the car with the fuel and as the tyres got older.
“Each stint I did got better and better, so I think if I can keep learning, naturally it will happen with more time in the car and working with the engineers.
“But obviously better and better doesn’t mean we’ll eventually be winning races by October. I pretty much did one lap and already in that one lap I felt like I kind of had a good feeling of the car.
“Although it’s not got the grip of the Red Bull, it’s still kind of gave me enough feeling to know maybe what I can and can’t do with it.”