Daniel Ricciardo was feeling right at home after returning to the Formula 1 hot seat, as he headed out on track for the first time at the wheel of an AlphaTauri in Hungary.
While Ricciardo completed only seven laps in the rain-hit first session at the Hungaroring without setting a time, he enjoyed a more productive time in the car later in the day with 30 laps completed in a dry FP2.
Ricciardo was still getting used to driving the AT04 for the first time, and his best lap was a modest 1:18.385s which was only good enough for P14 and was a little over four tenths slower than his new team mate Yuki Tsunoda.
It had looked like Ricciardo's time in F1 was over after he was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2022, but being picked up as Red Bull's third driver left the door open for him to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.
However it came about, Ricciardo was clearly happy to be back in the saddle, and felt that it had been a productive day with more to come over the remainder of the weekend in Budapest.
“I felt comfortable quite quickly today," he told the media after the end of the session. "But comfortable is 95 per cent. The last few per cent - look, right now, I feel I can find that tomorrow. At least get close to it.
"Obviously this morning, we didn’t really get anything. But this afternoon I think, yeah, just a little bit [more time needed] on the new tyre, but nothing really I’m concerned about.
“Today I didn’t quite put the lap together," he acknowledged. "But I started to feel the limit of the car [so if I can] just keep it clean tomorrow, I feel like I’ll be pretty content.
"The car felt okay. To be honest it doesn’t feel too bad. A bit of work tonight, but nothing crazy," he noted. "A bit more out of me - and for sure, there’s some things already I feel in the car that we can try and work on.
"[In terms of] positions, it’s probably not too relevant at the moment,” he pointed out. “I think it was just more for me today to feel basically where I am with the car.
"It all felt pretty familiar," he added, aware of being in the spotlight today. "Obviously there’s a lot of outside attention but once I put the helmet on and got in the car, it felt in a way like I never really left. So that was nice.
"Right now I’m quite optimistic," he summarised. "It looked like Yuki also had a pretty good day. I think if we put all these things together, maybe tomorrow we can do okay.”