Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 Return Is One Of 10 Reasons Not To Miss Budapest
(Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
— 19 July 2023

Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 Return Is One Of 10 Reasons Not To Miss Budapest

— 19 July 2023
James Want
James Want

Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 return is as dramatic as they come, replacing much-hyped rookie Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri — the team he last raced for a decade ago (then known as Toro Rosso).

The Dutchman was stooged after just ten races, once again reminding fans how brutal the elite motorsport really is when it comes to retaining your seat. Unfortunately for Nyck, while he was struggling to perform, teammate Yuki Tsunoda managed to make a mediocre car look a little less mediocre. 

I don’t think there’s an Formula 1 fan in the world who’s not pumped to see the return of Danny Ric. As the grid’s most likeable character, there’s no doubt the sport is in a better place when he’s (actively) participating, and I’m sure I’m not the only one excited to see what he can do in the AlphaTauri. Plus we have one more Australian to cheer for. 

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Daniel Ricciardo records a lap time of 1:27.415 in testing at Silverstone, good enough for a front-row start. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

However, Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 return isn’t the sole reason to be excited about this weekend’s race in Budapest. I can’t believe I’m saying it — especially with such a one-horse race out front — but there’s a lot to look forward to after a thrilling race week at Silverstone. 

Let’s dive into 10 reasons why you can’t miss the action at Hungaroring come Sunday. 

Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 return

Just a tyre test? Really? Sure it was solid time, but there’s no way that after five consecutive failures to make Q3, Helmut Marko didn’t want to make Sergio “Checo” Perez sweat it out.

Ricciardo has had a tumultuous five years striving for respect and success (and money), so while he was bullish about his return to Red Bull Racing, it’s wild to see him take a step back to AlphaTauri — likely driving for free after a frustrating fall from grace.

He’s got a Hungoring race win, he’s got experience, and most importantly, he’s got a second chance. With so much to prove, will it be points or P17? Probably the latter… but I hope I’m wrong.  

Checo needs a Q3 appearance and a result

Let’s be honest here, Checo’s qualifying results have been utterly shithouse of late.

Yes, last weekend he timed his last quali lap horribly, which would have been a team decision, but he can’t hide the fact that his teammate is in a league of his own in equal machinery.

If he gets a Q3 spot, he’ll likely get a podium, and he’ll be feeling immense pressure to do so. No excuses Checo.  

Yuki Tsunoda must not be upstaged

If there’s a Red Bull seat on the line for 2024, Tsunoda wants it.

A second stage of upgrades is being introduced to the car this weekend — although you wouldn’t know the first came at Silverstone — and there’s simply no way he’s going to allow himself to be upstaged by Daniel in a car he’s more familiar with.

Expect his elbows out, even alongside the Honey Badger. He can’t do any worse than his last place in 2022. 

McLaren’s new groove

Where did last weekend come from?!

Finally, McLaren Racing is competitive again. A new nose, a redesigned front wing, and modifications to the rear suspension and brake duct saw Mercedes’ George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton commenting on the papaya rocket’s pace at Silverstone. You love to see it.

If they can prove themselves in the tighter corners of the Hungaroring, then I’d say we’ve got a proper 4th place constructors battle on our hands this season. 

Lando Norris is brimming with confidence

How good was last weekend’s battle between Lando and Lewis? No, wait. How good was Lando, full stop?

The start. The end. Too good. I was worried they’d made the wrong tyre choice, but he stayed composed and steered his car to P2 to equal his career-best Formula 1 performance.

He’ll be hungry to continue his form (as will Oscar) en route to better his P7 from 2022. 

Alex Albon is looking seriously hot

Williams also had a great weekend at Silverstone and Albon is driving like a man possessed, with three standout efforts on the trot.

If he’d been driving with similar confidence at Red Bull, he’d still have his seat, and probably a handful of wins under his belt.

Currently, he’s sitting at P11 in the driver standings, and pushing the Williams FW45 beyond its absolute limit. Point of fact, his efforts alone have the team sitting in seventh ahead of Haas, Alfa Romeo, and AlphaTauri. 

Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin threat

I can’t see Max Verstappen being beaten but Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin should all be competitive.

The track is much better suited to the aerodynamic efficiency of the Ferrari and Aston’s prowess in slow-speed corners. Fernando picked up P2 in Monaco and I could see him doing it again at Hungaroring aka “Monaco without walls” if all goes to plan for Aston Martin.

Furthermore, Mercedes showed excellent race pace last week, dominated in Budapest last year, and it’s Lewis’s best winning track so he can’t be underestimated.

Softer tyre compounds

Last year’s hard tyre compound at Budapest provided no grip, so Pirelli has returned in 2023 with the three softest tyres in the range: the C3, C4 and C5.

Depending on the temperature and tyre wear/management we’ll likely see a more interesting race in terms of strategy, as well as quicker qualifying, and race lap times. 

Less tyres, enforced use

At Budapest, Pirelli will only provide 11 sets of tyres instead of 13; teams are obliged to use each compound in qualifying on Saturday.

The ‘Alternative Tyre Allocation’ will be trialled for the very first time, with the obligation to use just the Hard in Q1, Medium in Q2, Soft in Q3, and a view to roll it for all races next season. 

Red Bull’s new record

At Silverstone, Red Bull tied McLaren’s 1988 record for 11 consecutive race wins.

Love or loathe Max, you can’t deny the reigning two-time world champion (verging on three-time) is in a league of his own. He’s so dominant, in fact, that the bloke could finish second in every remaining race scheduled for the current season and still be crowned king of the grid. Although I just don’t see that happening.

A win in Budapest will set a new record for consecutive race wins in Formula 1, giving a future generation of teams and drivers a lofty goal.

The real question is — how many more victories will both the charging bovine and its superstar log?

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James Want
James is the co-founder of Luxity Media and managing editor of Boss Hunting and B.H. Magazine. He has more than twelve years experience writing, photographing, producing, and publishing both earned and paid content in the men's lifestyle space.


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