Lawson to be AlphaTauri F1 replacement until Ricciardo fit

Liam Lawson will return to drive for the AlphaTauri Formula 1 team at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo continues his recovery from a broken hand.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri

The Australian has been sidelined by injury three rounds into his F1 return after crashing in second practice at Zandvoort.

He locked the front wheels into the banked Turn 3 to shunt into the barrier. The steering wheel moved violently upon impact to result in a broken metacarpal in his left hand.

Ricciardo underwent surgery and “metal work” in Barcelona on Sunday and is believed to have been treated by renowned MotoGP doctor Doctor Xavier Mir.

On Monday, AlphaTauri confirmed that Lawson  will deputise for Ricciardo “until he is fully fit.”

Lawson made his F1 race debut on Sunday, having previously taken part in three FP1 sessions with Red Bull and AlphaTauri last season.

The Super Formula title challenger, who sits second in the standings, finished the Dutch GP in 13th, ahead of team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in 16th.

In a statement, the team said: “We are delighted that Daniel’s surgery went well and that he is now on the road to recovery.

“We hope to see him at the track again very soon, but until he is fully fit, we can confirm that Liam, who did a good job in difficult circumstances in Zandvoort, will continue to drive alongside Yuki, starting from our home race this weekend in Monza.”

AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost told Autosport on Sunday that Lawson would be sent to undergo simulator work this week ahead of the Monza round.

Ricciardo’s injury comes ahead of a congested run of races. The Italian GP takes place this weekend, with a week’s break before the Singapore and Japan double header.

Speaking after his operation, Ricciardo posted on Instagram: “Hey everyone. Had surgery this morning, got my first bit of metal work so that’s pretty cool.

“Big thanks to everyone who reached out and kept my spirits up. This ain’t a setback, just all part of the comeback.”

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he believed Ricciardo was aiming to return to racing in Singapore, but stressed “nature will take its course.”

He told Sky Sports: “That's the thing he was most frustrated about, talking with him last night.

“He's just taken a bunch of time off, just getting his mojo back, getting back into it and now he's on the bench again. That was, I think, his frustration.

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“I think he felt that the car, they've started to make some progress and it's a shame for him.

“But I'm sure, at the back of his mind, he's probably got Singapore as a target.

“But then again, Singapore is probably one of the most tough circuits on the calendar. But nature will take its course.”

He added: “It's quite a clean break and then, of course, it's all about the recuperation and how long that takes.

“Any normal human being would probably be about 10 to 12 weeks, but we know that these guys aren't normal.

“So, it will all be about the recovery process - how long that will take, is it going to be three weeks, a month, is it six weeks? Nobody really knows.”

Additional reporting by Matt Kew and Adam Cooper

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