In a cruel twist of fate, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo found himself caught up in an accident during the second practice session at the Dutch Grand Prix. It was fellow Australian Oscar Piastri who had crashed his McLaren in the treacherous Turn 3 of the Zandvoort circuit. Unluckily for Ricciardo, he arrived at the scene just moments later and had to take evasive action, ultimately hitting the outside barriers. The impact was so severe that his steering wheel snapped violently, causing him immediate discomfort in his wrist. The 34-year-old driver was quickly taken to a nearby hospital in Haarlem, where X-rays confirmed the bad news – a broken left hand.
With Ricciardo’s injury preventing him from participating in the rest of the Dutch GP weekend, Red Bull had to quickly find a replacement driver. Liam Lawson, who was already on standby as the designated reserve driver for both Red Bull teams, was chosen to step in from Saturday’s FP3 session onwards. Red Bull advisor Marko expressed his disappointment, acknowledging the difficulty of the situation for Lawson. Despite the setback, Marko noted that the car was performing well at Zandvoort, adding a touch of regret to the turn of events.
AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team, later confirmed that Ricciardo had indeed broken a metacarpal in his hand. The team assured fans and the racing community that further updates would be provided in due course. In the meantime, Lawson, who currently sits second in Japan’s Super Formula championship with three wins, stepped into the driver’s seat for the remainder of the weekend. This marks Lawson’s first opportunity to drive a 2023 F1 car, as he had not yet completed any rookie FP1 running for either Red Bull or AlphaTauri this year. The young driver has shown promise, having finished third in last year’s Formula 2 season, and his performance in the Dutch Grand Prix will surely be one to watch.
While it remains uncertain how long Ricciardo will be sidelined, it is likely that he will miss the upcoming Italian Grand Prix, which is scheduled for the following week. The Red Bull team is actively exploring options to expedite Ricciardo’s recovery, with reports suggesting that they may involve noted MotoGP surgeon Doctor Xavier Mir. Mir’s expertise in sports-related injuries has been witnessed before when he operated on Lance Stroll following a cycling accident that had ruled him out of pre-season testing in Bahrain. Red Bull is hoping that Mir’s involvement will aid Ricciardo’s recovery and shorten his time away from the track.
Interestingly, Liam Lawson had been rumored as a contender to replace Nyck de Vries from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards. However, Red Bull made the decision to give the seat to Ricciardo instead, in an attempt to inject more experience into the struggling AlphaTauri line-up. Marko also made it clear that de Vries was not even considered for a return on home soil, which raises questions about the team’s opinion of the Dutch driver.
As the racing world eagerly awaits further updates on Ricciardo’s condition, the focus turns to the Australian driver’s recovery. With the Italian Grand Prix just around the corner, time is of the essence for his rehabilitation. Both Ricciardo and Red Bull will undoubtedly be hoping for a swift and complete recovery, allowing the driver to return to the cockpit and continue his fight for points and podiums. Until then, fans will keep a close eye on Liam Lawson as he takes on the role of Ricciardo’s replacement, hoping that he can make the most of this unexpected opportunity and showcase his talent on one of Formula 1’s grand stages.
Daniel Ricciardo’s unfortunate accident and subsequent hand injury have added an unexpected twist to the Dutch Grand Prix. With a broken hand, Ricciardo’s immediate future on the track remains uncertain, but the racing community remains hopeful for a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Liam Lawson steps into Ricciardo’s shoes, eager to seize the opportunity and impress both Red Bull and AlphaTauri with his driving prowess. The Dutch Grand Prix continues with an altered lineup, highlighting the unpredictable nature of Formula 1 and the resilience of its drivers.