Daniel Ricciardo looks set to be ruled out of Formula One for a number of weeks after undergoing surgery on his broken left wrist. The Aussie driver was ruled out of the Dutch Grand Prix - won by Red Bull's world champion Max Verstappen - after a crash with compatriot Oscar Piatri in practice on Friday.
The AlphaTauri driver was sent to hospital after crashing at Turn 3 when he drove into a tyre wall at Zandvoort in an attempt to avoid running headlong into the stricken McLaren of Piastri. Eight-time winner Ricciardo was in obvious pain when he emerged from his AlphaTauri cockpit following the accident in practice.
'SAYS IT ALL': Ricciardo moment with Red Bull bosses sparks frenzy
He is almost certain to be ruled out of next weekend's Italian GP and likely to miss further races in the second half of the season. Posting a photo of himself from hospital, Ricciardo appeared to be in positive spirits though, and was targeting a swift return to action.
"Had surgery this morning and got my first bit of metal work so that's pretty cool," said Ricciardo via his social media channels. "Big thanks to everyone who reached out and kept my spirits up. This ain't a setback, just all part of the comeback."
Following Friday's crash, Ricciardo was immediately taken to the medical centre before he was transported to a nearby hospital with his left arm in a sling. A subsequent X-ray confirmed the 34-year-old had sustained a break to the metacarpal on his left hand. New Zealand rookie Liam Lawson finished 13th out of 17 classified drivers after deputising for Ricciardo in Sunday's rain-hit race.
Hopes Daniel Ricciardo can return quicker than expected
The Dutch GP was set to be Ricciardo's third comeback race, but he will also certainly have to wait a number of weeks before taking his spot on the grid again. Ricciardo saw the same specialist that helped Lance Stroll make a faster than expected return to action, providing a sense of optimism for Ricciardo and his fans.
The Aussie's injury has been known to sideline other drivers for anywhere between 10-12 weeks. However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner backed the Aussie to return to action much sooner, hinting at the Singapore GP in mid-September as a possible comeback race for the Aussie.
“They bounce back pretty quickly,” Horner told Sky F1 on Saturday. “So he’s headed off to Barcelona. They may even have a little operation on him tomorrow to just tidy up where that break is – it’s quite a clean break.
“Then, of course, it’s all about the recuperation and how long that takes. Any normal human being will probably be about 10 to 12 weeks, but we know that these guys aren’t normal.
“So then it’ll all be about the recovery process. How long that will take, you know, is it going to be three weeks? Is it a month? Is it six weeks? Nobody really knows.”
Max Verstappen in record-equalling ninth straight win
In Sunday's Dutch GP, Verstappen stretched his lead over Red Bull teammate to 138 points in the drivers' standings after a record-equalling ninth straight F1 victory. Verstappen won third straight race from pole position at the Zandvoort track to equal Sebastian Vettel's streak of nine straight wins.
"I already had goosebumps when they were playing the national anthem before the start. Even with all the bad weather and the rain the fans were still going at it, an incredible atmosphere," Verstappen said. "I'm going to enjoy this. It's always tough, the pressure is always on to perform."
Veteran Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso finished second and picked up a bonus point for the fastest lap. Alpine driver Pierre Gasly crossed the line in fourth place behind Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, but the Frenchman moved up to third because Perez was given a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
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