Christian Horner praises the ‘Daniel Ricciardo of old’ for finally returning

Daniel Ricciardo was just over a tenth of a second slower than Max Verstappen in qualifying at the 2023 Mexican GP.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Daniel Ricciardo was finally back to his “old” self last weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix, where he finished in seventh place.

Ricciardo was unbelievable throughout the weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, to the point that a top-five finish looked on the cards.

This arguably would’ve been achieved had a red flag not been required following a crash for Kevin Magnussen, as it allowed George Russell and Lando Norris the chance to get past.

It was the restart which cost Ricciardo; however, his result was still enough to elevate AlphaTauri from last to eighth in the Constructors’ Championship.

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Horner stressed after the race that Ricciardo’s exceptional performance was proof of why the Australian was brought back to the sister team to replace Nyck de Vries, who was axed after Silverstone.

“It was great to see Daniel performing so well and fully endorse the reason why we brought him back into AlphaTauri just prior to the summer break,” Horner said, as reported by

“I thought he was outstanding this weekend, fighting a Mercedes in a AlphaTauri.

“Had it not been for the red flag, he would have probably finished yet further up. So a great performance from him and he certainly looked like the Daniel of old this weekend.”

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Whilst Ricciardo’s race result was sensational, his qualifying performance was arguably even better.

The fan favourite was a genuine contender for pole position, although he was forced to settle for fourth on the grid.

He lined-up alongside three-time World Champion Max Verstappen, who was just over a tenth of a second quicker than the Aussie.

“Look at the delta to Max, though,” noted Horner, “it was less than a tenth I think, so a remarkable performance by him.”

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Even when not driving in Mexico City, Ricciardo just seemed so much happier than he’s been for a long time.

After struggling on his return from injury at the United States Grand Prix, Horner pointed out how “relaxed” the 34-year-old seemed, highlighting that a relaxed Ricciardo is seemingly a fast Ricciardo.

“You can see he’s relaxed, he’s confident and I thought this weekend he came into the weekend fully motivated after a tricky Austin, coming back from injury, I thought he did a did a great job this weekend,” Horner added.