Ricciardo back in the US, looking forward to returning to the track
Australia’s Ricciardo is set to make his comeback for his third race of the season at the U.S. Grand Prix this weekend. He has missed the last five races after breaking his left hand in a crash during practice for the Dutch Grand Prix in August. New Zealand’s Liam Lawson has performed well in Ricciardo’s absence, but will cede the position to the eight-time Grand Prix stage winner.
Daniel Ricciardo will return to the Formula 1 grid at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix after recovering from a hand injury he suffered earlier in the season.
The Australian broke a bone in his hand during practice for August’s Dutch GP and was replaced by New Zealander Liam Lawson for the race at Zandvoort and subsequent events in Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.
Ricciardo took part in a Red Bull demonstration run in Nashville last week and will be back in his AlphaTauri for the first practice session at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
“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, 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.”
Ricciardo began the season without a seat having had his McLaren contract terminated a year early.
The Australian returned to Red Bull as a reserve driver before being offered a career lifeline by AlphaTauri following the departure of Nyck de Vries.
Ricciardo, who is an eight-time GP winner, finished 13th in his first race back in Hungary and then 16th in Belgium before breaking his hand.
AlphaTauri confirmed last month that Ricciardo will remain with the team for the 2024 season, partnering Japanese rider Yuki Tsunoda, despite having only competed in two races this season.