Daniel Ricciardo is to undergo surgery on his hand following a crash during Friday practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.
The AlphaTauri driver broke his left hand after hitting the barriers at the Zandvoort circuit and will take no further part in the grand prix this weekend, with debutant Liam Lawson replacing him.
However, any hope of a swift return to the cockpit have been dismissed by Ricciardo himself who says he must focus on getting fully healed before he can get back to racing.
‘I remember coming into Turn 3. I had already gotten into the corner and then saw [Oscar] Piastri, so it was either hit him or the wall,’ the 34-year-old 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.’
Lawson will start Sunday’s race in last place after a difficult first F1 qualifying session, but that is no mark against the young New Zealander who has not spent any time in the AT04 car.
As for when Ricciardo could possibly return, Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed on Saturday that the Aussie could have surgery on his hand as early as Sunday but he certainly won’t recover in time for the next weekend’s race in Italy.
He could be back for the Singapore Grand Prix on 17th September, but given the gruelling nature of the Marina Bay street circuit, Horner thinks Ricciardo may give that a miss as well, meaning he may only come back for the Japan race the following week.
‘He’s headed off today to Barcelona. They may even have a little operation on him tomorrow to tidy up where that break is, it’s quite a clean break,’ Horner told Sky Sports.
‘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.’
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