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Daniel Ricciardo won’t fall for same trap at AlphaTauri, return to Formula 1, Hungarian Grand Prix, preview, latest news

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Daniel Ricciardo has declared he won’t fall for the same “trap” which cursed his run at McLaren, days before his F1 return for AlphaTauri at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo joined compatriot Oscar Piastri, his replacement at the papaya outfit, on the grid when he was loaned from Red Bull to replace struggling quasi-rookie Nyck de Vries for the rest of the season.

But it means he’s back at the top level in arguably the grid’s slowest car, and one that struggles on corner entry – an area which Ricciardo struggled with in the McLaren.

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Asked in Hungary if he was concerned about that aspect of the AlphaTauri machine, Ricciardo told reporters he feels he’s better-placed to make up for the issue this time around.

“I think what hurt me the last couple of years was that I started probably just falling into a little bit of a trap where ‘Oh, yeah, this car doesn’t suit me. I need to work around this and this’,” Ricciardo said.

“You can probably be your own worst enemy as well. I kind of go back to my first qualifying with McLaren, I did a great quali. And that was when I kind of didn’t know so much yet.

“So, I’m not really thinking too much. I know the car will have limitations and I’m sure it’s not going to feel as good as the car [the Red Bull] I drove a week ago. But I’ll just work with that.

“I drove it on the sim last week, and it seemed okay. I think it was a solid day on the sim. We obviously need to see if that translates but yeah, ask me tomorrow once I’ve driven it.”

MORE ON RICCIARDO’S RETURN

THE TASK: Where Ricciardo can strike in 12-race F1 comeback bid — including some of his best tracks

THE CAR: Dan wants to ‘hit the ground running’. But he’ll have to deal with one of F1’s worst cars first

THE DREAM: Red Bull boss reveals Ricciardo’s ‘golden objective’, reveals Aussie star was ‘broken’

THE RISK: Why Danny Ric, new teammate’s careers are on the line in next 12 races

Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Scuderia AlphaTauri and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia AlphaTauri talk to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 20, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Scuderia AlphaTauri and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia AlphaTauri talk to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 20, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Ricciardo’s six months away from being an active driver, instead spent in the Red Bull simulator, saw him regain his passion for the week-to-week on-track action.

He picked a behind-the-scenes role at Red Bull over Mercedes hopeful it would be his fastest way back into top-level machinery – after initially saying he wouldn’t return in a slower car.

Asked what had changed from that statement, Ricciardo said: “I think a couple of things. Obviously, I had enough time off to let’s say reset, but also just kind of enjoy it again. I already felt that on the simulator so far this year.

“But then also, that’s why I wanted to drive the car and really make sure that it’s still obviously truly what I love doing most. I was, let’s say, up to speed really quick, and it felt so good again.

“I knew also, after everything that happened over the last few years and getting back into the sport, taking some time off, I knew it would be very hard to go back to the top.

“Of course, that was my wish, but I think also you need to be realistic at some point and say, ‘Okay, if I want to get back to say, a Red Bull seat, then it’s going to take a bit of a process and a path.’ And this, for me, is the best path at the moment

“And also, six months ago, I probably wasn’t in a place to jump at an opportunity like this. But that’s been the luxury of time now, where I’ve fallen in love with it again. I feel like I’ve been myself again, probably back as well in an environment that just gives me a lot of nostalgia.”

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