A buoyant Daniel Ricciardo swore he’d stay true to his ‘honey badger’ reputation at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix after making an immediate return to form in qualifying at the Hungaroring.
Replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri following the British GP, Ricciardo qualified a superb 13th ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda and George Russell, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.
The Hungaroring is notoriously difficult for overtaking on-track but Ricciardo promised to still attack where he can and push the AT04 to its limit.
“Tomorrow will be fun and of course if there’s some gaps I’ll see what the car can do,” Ricciardo told F1. “We’ll see, I haven’t really got close with anyone yet on track in these racing conditions.
“But I don’t expect the racing to feel too foreign or weird to me, I took a bit of time off but it wasn’t two years, it was half a year or so.”
Ricciardo: Hungarian GP quali result is irrelevant
Ricciardo immediately got on top of the AlphaTauri at the Hungaroring, pipping Albon and Tsunoda to reach Q2 by just 0.011 and 0.013 seconds respectively, before comfortably outqualifying Stroll and Gasly in the second session.
That’s only the third time Tsunoda‘s been outqualified by his teammate in 2023 as he previously led the Saturday battle 10-2 against De Vries, reinforcing Red Bull‘s belief that Ricciardo is an upgrade over the unfortunate Dutchman.
But Ricciardo seemed almost lost for words after the session, unsure how to feel about the result.
“Yeah I mean its, I feel happy,” Ricciardo said. “Obviously it was hard coming into the weekend knowing what position was going to make me happy, I don’t want to say it lightly but in a way the position now is somewhat irrelevant.
“I think the main thing was for me to get back in and feel good again behind the wheel of a racecar and try to get up to speed with the AlphaTauri.
“So for that I feel like I’ve made good progress in two days running and as long as we keep progressing from here I’ll continue to remain content.”