Daniel Ricciardo says he is ready to attack the second part of the Formula 1 season after using the summer break to “feel the way I want to feel” following his recent return with AlphaTauri.
Nyck de Vries was dropped after the British Grand Prix, with Red Bull offering Ricciardo a route back onto the grid having taken up a reserve driver role after leaving McLaren. With the races in Hungary and Belgium under his belt before the summer shutdown, Ricciardo says he’s used the past few weeks to get himself into a position where he’s physically prepared for the rest of the year.
“I’m very excited about racing at Zandvoort, mainly to get the second half of the season going,” Ricciardo said. “I only got to do the two races before the break, so even if I enjoyed a bit of time off, I spent most of the past few weeks training and enjoying the chance to keep building up my fitness, to be all set to attack the second half of the season.
“I’ve really enjoyed being back, and the two races with the team have been awesome. Now, I’m very hungry and motivated and feel the way I want to feel. That’s why I’m looking forward to kicking off in Zandvoort, which is a very fast track with an awesome atmosphere.”
While Ricciardo impressed upon his return, his teammate Yuki Tsunoda once again delivered an eye-catching result with points in the final race before the break, although the Japanese driver is wary of expecting a repeat in Zandvoort.
“I was happy with how the first part of the season ended in Belgium, as it had been a long time since we scored any points,” Tsunoda said. “It meant I could go into the summer break in a positive mood, and I’m carrying that motivation as we start the second half of the season this weekend.
“I also fitted in some time in the simulator earlier this week to prepare for the next two races. We’ve had two races in Zandvoort in the past, and I even made it to Q3 last year, but I’ve never finished, so that’s something I want to put right this weekend.
“I like the track because it’s technical with some unique features, such as the steeply banked corners and the mix of slow and fast turns. It’s physically quite demanding.
“I’m not sure how we will perform here because even if Spa went well, much of that was down to the specific nature of the track and even the weather, while Zandvoort is very different — a medium- to high-downforce circuit — but hopefully we can have another good race there. Because the track is very narrow, our main focus will be on qualifying well, which is something we have struggled with a bit so far this season.”