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Ricciardo's F1 recovery reinforced by Gerhard Berger

Ricciardo's F1 recovery reinforced by Gerhard Berger
© Reuters
Formula 1 icon Gerhard Berger has been instrumental in bolstering confidence within Red Bull about Daniel Ricciardo's prowess as a leading driver in the sport.

Formula 1 icon Gerhard Berger has been instrumental in bolstering confidence within Red Bull about Daniel Ricciardo's prowess as a leading driver in the sport.

At 34 years old, Ricciardo, who is romantically involved with Berger's daughter Heidi, was recently the subject of a conversation between the CEO of Red Bull's junior team, RB, and the former Ferrari and McLaren driver.

"We knew he still had the speed," RB CEO Peter Bayer remarked to Sky Deutschland in Miami, noting Ricciardo's improved performance with a new monocoque he had requested before the China race.

"The new chassis may have made a bit of a difference mentally," Bayer added.

"I spoke to Gerhard Berger on the phone and he confirmed that he also had moments like that. By changing the chassis, we gave Daniel more comfort and safety, and it paid off."

Ricciardo has been aiming to leverage a full-time seat at RB this year as a stepping stone to rejoin Red Bull Racing, the flagship team of the energy drink giant.

"I think the Daniel we knew from before is now coming back," former F1 racer Alex Wurz commented to ORF. "He seems to be clearer in his head again."

Dr. Helmut Marko, a principal consultant for Red Bull in Austria, acknowledged the team's engineers have been diligently adjusting the car's setup to better suit Ricciardo's unique driving style.

"We worked intensively on the setup to tailor the car to his needs," Marko explained. "Daniel has a special driving style, and now he can finally drive the way he needs and the way we were used to seeing from him."

After achieving fourth place in the sprint qualifying and race sessions in Miami, where he also held off the formidable Carlos Sainz of Ferrari, Ricciardo expressed his pleasure: "It makes me happy to make Laurent (Mekies) happy."

"It's also nice to keep a few people quiet."

Laurent Mekies is the team manager at RB.

"We have already made good progress, but more will come later in the season," Mekies noted. "I think we now have Daniel and Yuki (Tsunoda) at a very strong level where they will continue to push each other this year."

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