After losing his McLaren drive at the end of 2022, Ricciardo completing a sensational return to the F1 grid with AlphaTauri at the Hungarian Grand Prix as he replaced the under-performing Nyck de Vries.
But the 34-year-old Australian’s comeback was rocked when he broke his hand in a crash during practice at his second race back at Zandvoort, ruling him out of the next five events.
Ricciardo starred in Mexico with a stunning lap to qualify fourth on the grid, before converting that into seventh, marking AlphaTauri’s best result of the season.
But as F1 co-commentator Brundle admits, he thought Ricciardo would have out-performed teammate Yuki Tsunoda by a more convincing margin.
“I don't think Daniel has perhaps outperformed Tsunoda as I would have expected him to,” Brundle said in a Sky F1 fan Q&A.
“I know he was thrown in at the deep end and he was really unlucky with that incident in Zandvoort. So the jury is out on that.
“And you have to say McLaren replaced him with Piastri, at some cost and pain, and that proved to be a pretty smart move, didn't it?”
Ricciardo is targeting a return to Red Bull as he eyes Sergio Perez’s seat alongside Verstappen, but Brundle is unsure how well he would fare against the triple world champion.
“So for me, Daniel's got a lot more to do before I would think that he's ready to go and take the fight to Max Verstappen,” he added.
Back in July, Brundle described Ricciardo’s return with AlphaTauri as a “high-risk” move.
"He's got to beat Tsunoda, he's absolutely got to,” Brundle said at the time. “He needs to edge him in qualy and in the races, that's an absolute given as an expectation.”