Daniel Ricciardo made his long-awaited return to Formula One racing earlier this season and became a full-time driver for AlphaTauri F1 Racing, replacing Nyck de Vries. That was until he suffered a tough hand injury that has kept him out of the seat for the last five F1 races.
As Formula One visits Austin, Texas, and the Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix this weekend, Ricciardo will finally be back behind the wheel. That doesn't mean his return didn't have plenty of hurdles.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 19, 2023
The eight-time Grand Prix winner has had plenty of trials in trying to get back. After being diagnosed with a broken metacarpal in his left hand following a practice crash at Zandvoort in the Netherlands in August, Ricciardo went to Barcelona, Spain, for immediate surgery to repair the hand.
His initial return was set for the Qatar Grand Prix earlier this month, but that was ultimately scratched after the surgery revealed that his hand injury was worse than initially thought.
Ricciardo explained all the obstacles he has faced in his recovery in a story by Matt Kew from Motorsport.com.
"I think it was really just when the accident happened, and we were aware of what bone broke, they seemed fairly OK with that bone, in terms of 'Oh, yeah, it's a relatively easy one to fix'. But then, when we got the surgery done in Spain, we got further checks done and it was just the break was a lot worse than it first seemed," Ricciardo said. "So, I think that's what took a lot longer for the recovery, and probably made it a little more painful for myself."
Ricciardo is excited to be back behind the wheel, and after returning to the paddock during the Singapore GP, he expects his team to have something good for Austin.
"I'm expecting a car that is a little stronger than where I left it. But I mean, it's going to be the third race I've done this year, so I'm still very green for this season," Ricciardo said. "But in saying that, I'm not using that as an excuse, but everything kind of still feels new to me."
It is good that he will be back behind the wheel this weekend. Formula One is better when Ricciardo is in the field.
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