Alphatauri driver Daniel Ricciardo has created quite a buzz in recent times, especially on the back of a great tyre testing session following the British Grand Prix.
While his result coincided with AlphaTauri offering him a seat after terminating the contract of Nyck de Vries, there was obviously a bigger agenda for Ricciardo.
Having left Red Bull a few years later to propel his career, Ricciardo has faced setback after setback.
His stock in the sport is not what it once was, but that doesn’t mean his ability behind the wheels has diminished.
Such was his impact during the tyre testing procedure that Red Bull engineers were left ‘quietly impressed’ with what they saw from the Honey Badger.
“You couldn’t really tell that he hadn’t been in a car for eight months,” said Simon Rennie, the Red Bull engineer who was overseeing Ricciardo’s performance.
“The first run, or maybe on the first installation lap, you were reminded how quick the cars were, but after that, it was within a few laps…
“It was just like, well, it’s like you’d driven the car last week, not last year.
“That was quite…I don’t know if you were surprised about that, but I was quietly impressed.”
Rennie was sitting alongside Ricciardo on the Talking Bull podcast.
The duo have previous knowledge of working together, having spent time before Ricciardo moved to Renault in 2018.
“I felt like I got up to speed relatively quickly and everything I really wanted to get out of the test, I did,” Ricciardo said.
“Then it was, ‘Alright mate, well you’re going to go racing in less than two weeks’ time at AlphaTauri’.
“That stuff also excites me, you know. That’s just Red Bull, that’s how they operate.
“It reminds me of how it was when I was a junior driver.
“My first ever F1 race, I got a call from Helmut [Marko, Red Bull motorsport advisor] a week before the race, and even then I wasn’t expecting it to be with HRT.
“That’s just how it is, and it certainly makes you feel game and ready and alive.”
As things stand, Ricciardo is dealing with a broken hand which could keep him out of action till the Qatar Grand Prix. Liam Lawson is deputising for him at AlphaTauri.