As racing picked up again after the summer break, the Dutch Grand Prix was the first race back after the break. After a much-needed break, the drivers seemed excited to finally be back on track. However, when the second free practice came around during the Friday of that race weekend, AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo was in for a surprise.
The Zandvoort circuit is famously known for its’ 18-degree inclination during turn three. During his second free practice session on Friday Ricciardo ended up going into the barrier and hurting his metacarpal. Before Ricciardo ended up in the barrier, fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri suffered the same fate as well. Ricciardo’s reasoning for ending up in the barrier was that it was either crashing into Piastri's stranded McLaren or the barrier, so he went with the latter. Due to the impact of the crash, the steering wheel popped off and since Ricciardo was not able to remove his hands off the wheel, they suffered the impact.
Ricciardo was taken to hospital to be checked out by medical examiners where he was diagnosed with a broken metacarpal. Unfortunately, the incident caused Ricciardo the Dutch Grand Prix and instead had Junior Red Bull driver Liam Lawson take his place. Liam Lawson is the reserve driver for Red Bull and was more than happy to step in and have his F1 debut.
The first time in an F1 car can be scary for many drivers when you are not expecting it, yet I believe that Lawson did the best he could considering the circumstances. During his qualifying session at the Dutch Grand Prix, he qualified in last place which could come as expected seeing as that was only his second time in the car during the weekend. Lawson’s talent and determination were showcased on Sunday during the Dutch Grand Prix where he managed to finish the race in 13th place.
Lawson and fellow AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda are no strangers to each other’s company. They used to be roommates during their time together while racing for Formula 2. Lawson described how both Ricciardo and Tsunoda have been very supportive throughout his transition during this crazy weekend.
As far as Ricciardo’s journey to recovery goes, the team is hopeful but it is a time will tell process. It is for sure that he will have missed the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and that Lawson will have raced in his place. Lawson will continue to drive for AlphaTauri during Ricciardo’s recovery process. Ricciardo posted on his Instagram after his surgery about how it all went well.
Who knows when Ricciardo will be able to step back into an F1 car but fans of the “Honey Badger” are eager to have him back after only having him back after a six-month hiatus. As far as Lawson's performance goes, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stated that he was very satisfied with Lawson’s performance considering the circumstances that occurred during the Grand Prix. We can only wish Ricciardo a speedy recovery and Lawson good luck in his future F1 endeavors for the time remaining.