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Ricciardo explains tougher than expected injury recovery that paused F1 comeback

AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says the broken bone in his hand was “a lot worse than it first seemed” to make his recovery “tougher” than originally anticipated.

Daniel Ricciardo, Scuderia AlphaTauri

Daniel Ricciardo, Scuderia AlphaTauri

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The eight-time F1 race winner will return to the cockpit in this weekend’s United States Grand Prix after a five-round spell on the side-lines following his free practice crash at Zandvoort in late August.

Ricciardo was diagnosed with a broken metacarpal in his left hand.

He flew to Barcelona for immediate surgery with MotoGP injury specialist Doctor Xavier Mir, who also helped Lance Stroll’s return after the Aston Martin driver broke bones in both his wrists during a cycling incident prior to pre-season testing.

A comeback for the Qatar GP for Ricciardo had been anticipated by the Red Bull stable but that has been ultimately delayed by a fortnight, with his operation revealing the injury to be worse than first thought.

Assessing his recovery, Ricciardo explained: “ Well, I would say, tougher than I thought. But I'm probably a bit of a wuss as well. So maybe not tougher than I thought!

“But 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.

“So, I think that's what took a lot longer for the recovery, and probably made it a little more painful for myself.”

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

While Ricciardo was ruled out, Red Bull reserve Liam Lawson was promoted to the AlphaTauri seat.

The Kiwi bagged two points for ninth place in Singapore, when the team debuted a major upgrade package that featured a revised floor and diffuser, new sidepods and engine cover plus revised rear suspension.

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As such, Ricciardo - who returned to the paddock for the first time in Singapore - expects a stronger AT04 for what will be the third round of his F1 comeback after he was paid to leave McLaren for this season.

Ricciardo continued: “I went out to Singapore where they had some pretty big updates.

“That was actually a pretty positive weekend for the team. So that looked good. The drivers [Yuki Tsunoda and Lawson] were saying that they could feel some good differences.

“So, 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.

“But in saying that, I’m not using that as an excuse, but everything kind of still feels new to me.”

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