Daniel Ricciardo accused of being bad news for Yuki Tsunoda

Daniel Ricciardo replaced Nyck de Vries at Scuderia AlphaTauri ahead of the 2023 Hungarian GP last month.

F1 journalist Mat Coch has stirred the pot by asserting that Daniel Ricciardo’s remarkable performance in Budapest has cast a shadow over Yuki Tsunoda’s season with AlphaTauri. 

Coch’s analysis aims to dissect the intricate dynamics within the team, suggesting that Ricciardo’s first race victory over Tsunoda has raised questions about the latter’s performance and the true extent of his capabilities.

Marking his return to the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix after a stint with AlphaTauri to replace Nyck de Vries, Ricciardo exhibited a strong showing that transcended expectations. 

Not only did he outshine Tsunoda in qualifying, securing P13 to Tsunoda’s P17, but he also clinched a higher finishing position in the race, securing 13th place while Tsunoda settled for 15th. 

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Notably, Ricciardo’s achievement came despite a challenging start to the race when he was hit from behind by Esteban Ocon, sending him tumbling to 18th position.

Coch highlights that Ricciardo’s Budapest feat has introduced a new perspective into the narrative surrounding Tsunoda’s performance throughout the first 10 races of the championship. 

Coch shared his insights on the Fox Sports podcast, Pit Talk, stating, “One is Daniel’s performance in Hungary — he came in and he beat Yuki Tsunoda on day one. 

“That says a bit about Daniel, but it also tells me a bit about Yuki as well, and what that tells me is that maybe he wasn’t getting the most out of the car, maybe he wasn’t doing that good a job.”

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Coch’s perspective extends to the perception of Tsunoda’s domination over his former teammate de Vries. 

Coch’s opinion gains added depth when considering Christian Horner’s apparent lack of endorsement for de Vries as a Red Bull driver. 

“De Vries never looked like a Red Bull driver to Christian Horner, and that’s the reason he’s no longer in the program,” Coch explained. 

Coch further questions the significance of Tsunoda’s achievements in the context of the internal dynamics and strategic decisions within AlphaTauri.

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“Pre-Hungary, I’d have bought into the ‘he’s destroyed Nyck de Vries’ argument,” Coch notes, “Now I put less weight into that as well, and as a result, Yuki’s performances are less impressive to me. 

“It’s not to say he hasn’t done a good job; I think he has. 

“He’s probably just outside my 10. But for those two reasons — Daniel’s performance and Christian’s comments — I wouldn’t put him in my top 10.”