Scuderia Alpha Tauri’s Daniel Ricciardo says that it is good to be back as he returns to Formula One for the first time since being forced out of the Dutch Grand Prix with a broken wrist, and what a race to return for this weekend, Formula One is in Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix and speaking ahead of the weekend, the Australian said:
“It’s good to be back! My hand is much better, and the simulator was a useful way of assessing it. I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go. My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.
“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit “Pause” again, but actually, the time without racing went quite quickly.
“The current car has moved on a bit since I last drove it, but the sim was useful to get an idea of what the changes and updates have delivered. I felt a little bit of their effect, but it’s one of those things I think, once I get on track, I’ll feel them to their full effect. I was there in Singapore when they tried it the first time, and it was interesting to hear the feedback and comments, which were mostly positive. So, I’m excited to see what it’s like first-hand.
“As for this weekend, I’ve always enjoyed Austin. It’s very unique for a modern-day circuit, and the undulations and bumps mean it’s physical. It does beat you up, but I think I like that. I like the challenge. A lot of the apexes are quite wide as well, so there are some peculiar corners which make the track exceptional and stand out.”
Yuki Tsunoda commented on the race this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas saying:
Qatar wasn’t a great weekend for us. Although I qualified well for Sunday, the Sprint was a different story, and then in the Grand Prix, I didn’t have the pace. There was a lot of talk about the hot weather, and from my perspective, the heat made things really tough – even if physically I didn’t find it too hard to race, it was just too hot, especially when you were following a car with the extra heat it generated. Formula 1 is meant to be a tough sport, but it was definitely harder than usual in Qatar.
“The races in this upcoming triple-header all have interesting and different challenges. I’m happy to go racing every weekend, but it’ll be tough on the team members, especially the mechanics, so I hope they can have a smooth and trouble-free time over the three weeks.
“I’ve finished in the points in Austin a couple of times, and it’s a very enjoyable place to go, on track and in the city. The circuit is interesting; the first part has some similarities with Suzuka, being high-speed with fast chicanes, which are great fun to drive, with plenty of changes of direction, and especially the first corner, uphill with a blind apex, is pretty unique. Our team has done quite well there in recent years, so I’m looking forward to the weekend, but it’s hard to predict how well we can do there this time. It has a long straight, and so far this year, we’ve struggled a bit in those situations, so we’ll be looking to make up lap time in the corners. I don’t think we’ll suffer as much as we did in Qatar, but it’s still going to be a tough challenge for us. It’s another Sprint weekend, so we know it’s important to have clean sessions right from Free Practice on Friday. To be honest, I’ve never put it all together in past Sprint weekends, with messy Sprint Shootouts, so I’m hoping to put that right this time, and if the car behaves well, we’ll be trying to maximise every opportunity. I’ve been in Austin since Monday, getting over the jet lag. It’s an amazing city with lots of things to do, and I’m a big fan of the food here, especially the brisket!