Telltale signs from Helmut Marko and Christian Horner at the Hungarian GP have fans convinced that Daniel Ricciardo will replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull.
- Daniel Ricciardo finished 13th on his AlphaTauri debut in Hungary
- The 34-year-old Australian will return to the Red Bull family next season.
- Max Verstappen’s victory in Hungary gave Red Bull a new record
Two interactions on the grid just before the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix have convinced F1 fans that Daniel Ricciardo’s return to driving for Red Bull is imminent.
In scenes that lit up social media, many fans have speculated that the Australian will drive alongside series leader Max Verstappen next season after seeing him greeted by two of the team’s top brass.
Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko and team boss Christian Horner expressed their good wishes to Ricciardo as he waited on the grid for the race to start before finishing 13th on his AlphaTauri debut.
Sergio Perez finished third behind Verstappen despite the team car completely outperforming the rest of the field, and many fans feel he is on borrowed time at Red Bull.
‘Lmao they want it on that RB so much they don’t even hide it. Favorite proper childish behaviour,’ a fan posted on Reddit after seeing Marko and Horner take time out to visit Ricciardo.
Other posted in Twitter: ‘RIP Pérez in the second seat.’
Red Bull supremo Helmut Marko (pictured right, circled) had F1 fans going wild after wishing Daniel Ricciardo luck ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner (circled on the right) also conveyed his best wishes to Ricciardo in Hungary.
helmut marko, pyry (dan’s trainer), franz tost and christian horner (look how excited he was!) wishing daniel ricciardo good luck before the race ❤️
He is so loved, so supported, they listen to him! and he knows that he is back with his family… I LOVE THIS SO MUCH 凉 pic.twitter.com/Lo7MdKXlJ1
— ece ③ (@ricciardopics) July 23, 2023
Marko was impressed with Ricciardo’s handling at the Hungaroring, especially since he was behind the whole field after a collision early in the race.
His happy greeting to the Australian was unusual for the famously grumpy boss of Red Bull’s driver development programme.
Ricciardo also finished ahead of his AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who eventually crossed the line in 15th.
“It was a very confident and mature performance,” Marko told Sky Sports Germany.
‘He [Ricciardo] lost three or four places because of the collision [with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu] after the start. Thirteenth place is fine.
“But it’s also the positive momentum that it brought to the team and the stabilization of the technical statements and the changes: the driver change worked perfectly.”
The Perth-born Ricciardo recently replaced Dutchman Nyck de Vries, who was sacked after failing to record a point in 10 races.
The Australian was relatively happy with his own performance, but knows that finishing in the top 10 with Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri will be difficult.
Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a slow start to finish 13th at the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Australian returned to the sport earlier this month after signing a short-term deal with AlphaTauri to replace Nyck De Vries.
Ricciardo (pictured in action in Hungary) is back in shape on July 30 for the Belgian GP.
He is feeling “full of energy” after his spell as a reserve, after he was replaced in the off-season at McLaren by fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.
“I really feel like having this half year off, even if it wasn’t the full year I was hoping for, it certainly made me reset and I feel energized again,” Ricciardo said.
“Sure there’s nerves, there’s excitement, there’s a lot of these things, but sometimes we probably forget to remind ourselves to take it in and just smile right now.”
“I was just trying to enjoy myself and of course you still make sure you stay focused but just enjoy it.”
Ricciardo then returns to the belt on July 30 for the Belgian Grand Prix.