Daniel Ricciardo will undergo hand surgery following a crash during Friday’s practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.
The AlphaTauri driver won’t be participating in Sunday’s race after breaking his left hand during a crash into the barriers at the Zandvoort track. As a result, Liam Lawson will make his grand prix debut, as he will be filling in for the Australian.
However, Ricciardo himself has dispelled any expectations of a speedy comeback to the driver’s seat, stating that he must first focus on recovering completely before returning to racing.
“I remember coming into Turn 3. I had already gotten into the corner and then saw Piastri, so it was either hit him or the wall,” Ricciardo said on Friday night.
“When I hit the wall, I didn’t have enough time to take my hands off the steering wheel, so the wheel came and hit my hand.
“It’s really unfortunate and frustrating, but I’ll try to recover as quickly as I can. Obviously, I’d love to get back soon.
“But I also want to ensure we do things the right way, so I come back strong and competitive.
“I wish the team well, and I’m sorry for the change in plans again. It’s a chance for Liam to have a go, and I wish him and the team a strong weekend.”
After a challenging first F1 qualifying session, Lawson will start Sunday’s race in last place, but the young New Zealander, who hasn’t driven the AT04 car yet, shouldn’t be judged by his first performance.
Regarding Ricciardo’s potential return, Red Bull Boss Christian Horner stated on Saturday that the Australian may undergo hand surgery as early as Sunday, but he most definitely won’t recover in time for the race in Italy the following weekend.
Given the demanding nature of the Marina Bay street circuit, Horner believes Ricciardo may forego returning for the Singapore Grand Prix on September 17. As a result, he may only return for the Japan race the week after.
“He’s headed off today to Barcelona,” Horner told Sky Sports. “They may even have a little operation on him tomorrow to tidy up where that break is, it’s quite a clean break.
“Then of course it’s all about the recuperation and how long that takes.
“Any normal human being would be 10-12 weeks but we know that these guys aren’t normal.
“So it will all be about the recovery process – is it going to be three weeks? Will it be a month? Is it six weeks? Nobody really knows.
“I’m sure at the back of his mind he’s got Singapore as a target. But, then again, Singapore is probably one of the toughest circuits on the calendar. So nature will take its course.”