US Grand Prix – After missing five races due to injury, Daniel Ricciardo will be back in the car racing for AlphaTauri this weekend.
Ricciardo broke his wrist in a crash during practice for the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of August. The Australian had been serving as Red Bull’s third driver this season but was given the AlphaTauri seat after the team felt Nyck de Vries hadn’t performed to their expectations in his debut season with them.
Ricciardo was only in his third weekend back when the accident happened and since then, it’s been Liam Lawson partnering Yuki Tsunoda and in his five races, the New Zealander managed to score the team’s best result of the season, a P9 in Singapore.
Lawson to replace injured Ricciardo for Dutch GP weekend
Ricciardo is delighted to be getting back into the car this weekend, he had been hoping to return in Qatar, last time out, but didn’t feel his left hand had quite recovered enough then. The Australian said he’s found it frustrating to have to watch the last few races from the sidelines but is looking forward to seeing how the upgrades in the past few weeks have affected the car’s performance.
“It’s good to be back!” Ricciardo said. “My hand is much better, and the simulator was a useful way of assessing it. I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go. My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.
“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit “Pause” again, but actually, the time without racing went quite quickly.
“The current car has moved on a bit since I last drove it,” he continued, “but the sim was useful to get an idea of what the changes and updates have delivered. I felt a little bit of their effect, but it’s one of those things I think, once I get on track, I’ll feel them to their full effect. I was there in Singapore when they tried it the first time, and it was interesting to hear the feedback and comments, which were mostly positive. So, I’m excited to see what it’s like first-hand.
“As for this weekend, I’ve always enjoyed Austin. It’s very unique for a modern-day circuit, and the undulations and bumps mean it’s physical. It does beat you up, but I think I like that. I like the challenge. A lot of the apexes are quite wide as well, so there are some peculiar corners which make the track exceptional and stand out.”