Horner: Ricciardo’s F1 Mexico GP performance “fully endorsed the reason why we brought him back”

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Daniel Ricciardo had his best weekend of F1 2023 as he scored his first points since his return to the sport with AlphaTauri.

The 34-year-old Australian qualified a sensational P4 on Saturday. He backed that up with a strong race drive to come home in 7th. An unfortunate red flag potentially cost him a couple of spots.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner was asked about the Aussie’s showing in his post-race media session. The Red Bull team boss says it justifies their decision to put him in the car.

“It was great to see Daniel performing so well. He fully endorsed the reason why we brought him back into AlphaTauri just prior to the summer break.

“I thought he was outstanding this weekend. [He was] fighting a Mercedes in an AlphaTauri. Had it not been for the red flag, he would have finished further up.

“A great performance from him and certainly looked like the Daniel of old this weekend.”

Ricciardo outqualified Sergio Perez on Saturday as he split the Red Bull drivers. Horner was asked about this, and he talked about the close gap between Ricciardo and Verstappen as well.

“Look at the delta to Max as well, though. It was less than a tenth or pretty much that [0.119s]. A remarkable performance by him.”

Although he won the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s time at McLaren was a nightmare. He struggled to get to grips with the unique traits of McLaren’s cars and couldn’t match Lando Norris. It led to him departing at the end of 2022.

Horner brushed off concerns that Ricciardo’s ability could be limited with the ground effect cars and spoke of how the mind can make you doubt yourself, something the 8-time Grand Prix victor has mentioned before.

“I think that’s a bit of a fallacy to say. Sport is as much in the head as anywhere else.

“I think he’s back to his old self. You can see he’s relaxed, he’s confident. I thought this weekend he came into it fully motivated after a tricky Austin.

“Coming back from injury, I thought he did a great job this weekend.”