Daniel Ricciardo has made an incredible comeback to Formula 1 as he returns to the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend.
The 34-year-old was demoted to Red Bull’s reserve driver after his 12-year stay in motorsport’s elite came to an end last season.
The eight-time race winner saw his contract at McLaren terminated and he returned to former team Red Bull as their third driver.
Ricciardo got behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time in 2023 when he drove the RB19 as part of a tyre test at Silverstone.
The Australian is now going one step further as he gears up to rival Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and the rest in Hungary.
Why is Ricciardo driving for Alphatauri?
Ricciardo has been confirmed as Nyck de Vries’ replacement at Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri.
He will be back in the cockpit for a race for the first time since Abu Dhabi 2022.
The Aussie will be on loan for the remainder of the season from Red Bull, with De Vries dropped without scoring a point after 10 races.
“I’m stoked to be back on track with the Red Bull family,” said Ricciardo.
Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost added: “I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team.
“There’s no doubt about his driving skill, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straightforward.
“The team will also profit a lot from his experience, as he is an eight-time Formula 1 grand prix winner.
“I would like to thank Nyck for his valuable contribution during his time with Scuderia Alpha Tauri, and I wish him all the best for the future.”
The announcement of Ricciardo’s return came just hours after he conducted a tyre test for Red Bull at Silverstone.
ESPN confirmed that Red Bull principal Christian Horner called the team’s advisor Helmut Marko to inform him of Ricciardo’s speedy pace which sparked a chain reaction that resulted in his return.
Horner himself alluded as such when he congratulated his former protegee on securing a seat back on the grid.
He wrote: “It is great to see [Ricciardo] hasn’t lost any form while away from racing and that the strides he has been making in his SIM sessions translate on track.
“His times during the tyre test were extremely competitive.
“It was a very impressive drive and we are excited to see what the rest of the season brings for Daniel on loan at [AlphaTauri].”
On De Vries’ exit, Marko explained: “We expected De Vries to be at least equivalent to Tsunoda, but he was always three-tenths slower. We saw no improvement.”
“We had to do something. Nyck is a very nice guy, but the speed just wasn’t there.”
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