Ricciardo believes a points finish could have been attainable if not for the unavoidable first lap collision that saw him plummet right to the back of the field, with Marko asserting the 34-year-old’s assured display has already vindicated the decision to bring him back.
“That was a perfect debut, Daniel would have been in the point range,” he told Austrian outlet OE24. “It was absolutely right to get him. He brings a positive vibe and energy.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s dominance continued with another victory on Sunday as the Austrian outfit set a new record for the most consecutive wins by a team in F1 history.
But with Max Verstappen being pipped to pole position by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by only 0.003s in qualifying, Marko believes the chasing pack are now within range to take advantage if Red Bull falters.
“Well, if the car isn’t in the best position, like in Budapest qualifying, we feel that the others are getting closer,” he acknowledged.
However, Verstappen seized the lead at the start and progressed untroubled to take a seventh win in succession by a crushing 33.7s over the McLaren of Lando Norris.
The reigning World Champion’s winning margin was the biggest of the season to this point and Marko claims Verstappen could have gone even quicker.
“That’s true, we’re way ahead in race trim,” he added. “Max actually could have driven even faster, he wasn’t at the limit by a long shot.”
The only flaw in Verstappen’s afternoon came on the podium when Norris’ trademark champagne celebration witnessed the winners’ trophy get smashed.
While both drivers saw the funny side of the incident in the post-race press conference, Marko admits he was less than impressed.
“The Hungarians are famous for their love for valuable porcelain,” he said. “Even when we were there, there were beautiful bowls and vases.
“The copy of the trophy comes to us at the factory and I’ll teach Max to appreciate the original that he’s getting replaced. That’s Hungarian tradition, the young people have to understand that first.”
Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez ensured both of the side’s drivers stood on the podium rostrum as the Mexican recovered from ninth on the grid to come home third.
It marked only the second time in the previous six races that Perez has collected a trophy, having managed to avoid missing out on a place in Q3 for the sixth weekend in a row the previous day.
Marko now believes Perez has overcome his recent struggles and is finally heading back on an “upward trend”.
“He’s already a lot better, fighting his way up from 9th place on the grid to 3rd place,” he commented. “He finally made it back into Q3. An upward trend can be seen.”