Ricciardo: Mexico ‘not enough’ despite being his best weekend since 2021

Daniel Ricciardo has played down his Mexico City performance. Image: Bearne / XPB Images

Daniel Ricciardo has played down his Mexico City performance. Image: Bearne / XPB Images

Daniel Ricciardo has played down the plaudits he received following his stunning performance in the Mexico City Grand Prix.

The Australian secured seventh last Sunday to help move Scuderia AlphaTauri off the bottom of the constructors’ championship.

It was a strong weekend for Ricciardo who qualified an impressive fourth before, predictably, he drifted back in the race when challenged by drivers in more competitive machinery.

But while pleased with the performance, the 34-year-old has cautioned that, for now, it was a single event.

“You’ve got to keep backing it up,” Ricciardo reasoned.

“It’s nice to have a good weekend, but just to have one, in my mind, it’s not enough.”

Ricciardo’s drive in Mexico saw praise heaped upon him from within Scuderia AlphaTauri, the broader Red Bull programme, and the media.

It was a performance viewed as an encouraging sign of his return to form after two difficult seasons with McLaren, a point he conceded.

“It was something that I’ve obviously, yeah, have struggled with the last year or two – didn’t have many weekends like that,” Ricciardo admitted

“This year was just about me rebuilding, I guess, myself again and just trying to find, as people say, that old form or that old me.

“Mexico felt a lot like that,” he added.

“Even the lead-up, everything about that week I was just very, very ready to go.

“It’s nice to back up everything I hoped the weekend would be.”

Ricciardo has been linked with a move back to Red Bull as Sergio Perez continues to struggle alongside Max Verstappen with his Mexico efforts further stoking that fire.

It marks a significant turnaround given, this time a year ago, he faced the very real prospect of his F1 career limping to an early conclusion after two seasons with McLaren.

Mexico was therefore a landmark event in many respects; proof absolute of his ability to perform at the highest level and that he’s rediscovered the driver who won seven grands prix with Red Bull.

“It wasn’t like every weekend at McLaren was bad, there were some which were good,” Ricciardo noted of the last time he had such a positive weekend.

“But I’d probably have to go back to more like 2021 as opposed to 2022, so it was a while.

“From start to finish, that was one that, in a car that is still relatively new to me, obviously it was my fourth proper race weekend of the year, so I think to have that feeling quite early, and that understanding of – I think already I’ve got a good understanding of what I want from the car.

“So in terms of set-up, we were able to change a few things going into Mexico, and I think that as well translating into the feeling I was looking for, I think that’s also really positive.”

In Mexico, Ricciardo was confident of a strong Saturday showing from early in the weekend but admits even he wasn’t dreaming of fourth.

“It was clear in my mind we were going to be in Q3,” he explained.

“I had a lot of confidence and faith that we were going to have no issues getting into Q3, especially with obviously a couple extra tenths from a two from Yuki [Tsunoda] – that obviously got us in there quite comfortably.

“Even Friday night, kind of played it out in my head and I was like ‘Alright, maybe everything going well tomorrow, it won’t just be a Q3, like a 10th, it’d maybe be a seventh, like, that would be amazing’.

“So fourth was a little better than we probably thought and honestly, wasn’t until after – I was very happy with it obviously in like the press afterwards and that – but it wasn’t till the Monday/Tuesday where that kind of sunk in.”

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