The Australian, who signed for Red Bull for this season on a one-year deal in a third driver role, was parachuted in to replace sacked AlphaTauri racer Nyck de Vries after 10 races.
A camera crew from Netflix’s Drive To Survive followed him during the media day in Budapest, and his interactions with journalists in Red Bull hospitality were extremely crowded.
The interview session that Ricciardo had in Spa was also well-received. This led him to make a playful comment, suggesting that he believed the media might have overlooked him in the following round. The attention he received in Hungary made him feel like he had become the world champion.
He expressed surprise at the relatively low number of media attendees today, stating that he had believed they had already forgotten about him.
When asked to reflect on his Hungary return – with the eight-time grand prix winner qualifying and finishing 13th after being caught up in the Turn 1 melee that eliminated both Alpines – Ricciardo replied: “I definitely made a point to enjoy it all.
During the media event, there was an abundance of excitement. I humorously compared it to the feeling of winning a world championship.
“There was so much interest, but it was something that you just have to soak it all up and enjoy it.
I believe the entire weekend went smoothly. I felt quite exhausted on Monday; I was very calm and simply pondered over it.
Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Ricciardo expressed that upon reflection, he had realized the importance of evaluating his weekends based on how well he utilized the car, rather than solely focusing on race outcomes.
He went on to say that while he was satisfied with his performance, his true joy stemmed from being able to race once more.
“The weekend is probably as chaotic as it felt. I really enjoyed it. I felt like everything was under control and it was busy, but it wasn’t too much.”
Ricciardo, who was paid off in 2022 to leave his McLaren contract after only two of its scheduled three years, added: “It was just a more enjoyable experience than I guess I’d probably found myself in more often in the last year or so. That was really important.
I achieved the 13th position in the qualifying round and maintained it throughout the race, yet my level of happiness exceeded what the result might suggest.
“I cannot reword”
“Obviously, I’m still very results-driven, but I felt like I’d done everything I needed to.
“I remained content with all the effort I invested during the weekend, as well as the encouragement I received from my team.”