Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo has proved himself after his return to the AlphaTauri team.It was confirmed after the British Grand Prix that AlphaTauri had abruptly dismissed Nyck de Vries after just ten races of his F1 rookie season. The Dutch driver was replaced by Ricciardo with immediate effect. After roughly seven months out of an F1 seat, the pressure was on the eight-time grand prix winner to prove that the team had made the right decision.
Bearing in mind that the AT04 is not the fastest car on the grid, Ricciardo has put in some respectable performances over the last two races. During his first race back, the Hungarian Grand Prix, he managed to out-qualify is teammate Yuki Tsunoda and went on to finish the race in 13th. The Belgian Grand Prix saw a 16th-place finish for Ricciardo.
During an interview with Autosport, Horner has spoken about Ricciardo’s return to AlphaTauri. He explained: “I think he met it [expectations]. Seeing what he did at Silverstone in the tyre test, I think after that expectations changed, and he met all expectations.”What he’s brought to AlphaTauri is a huge amount of experience and possibly some direction, obviously with the experience that he brings as a grand prix winner. He actually acquitted himself very, very well.”
Ricciardo’s return has inevitably added pressure to Red Bull driver Sergio Perez. Ricciardo has been open with his desires to drive for the Austrian team again which is where he sees himself driving until the end of his F1 career. Perez has been struggling to keep up with Max Verstappen in the RB19 so rumours have been swirling of the Mexican driver losing his seat to Ricciardo. However, Perez is in contract with Red Bull until the end of 2024.