Christian Horner makes Lance Stroll comparison amid Daniel Ricciardo blow

Daniel Ricciardo’s return to the Red Bull family has been halted by an unfortunate injury during practice at Zandvoort.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has conveyed his disappointment over the unforeseen setback in Daniel Ricciardo’s comeback journey, which was abruptly curtailed by a hand injury sustained during a practice session. 

The Australian driver had been determined to utilise his 12-race stint with AlphaTauri as an audition for a potential 2024 drive. 

However, his ambitions took a hit after just two races and two practice sessions, when a crash during FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix resulted in a broken metacarpal and an uncertain timeline for his return to the cockpit.

The incident unfolded as Ricciardo encountered a challenging moment at the banked Turn 3 of Zandvoort, colliding with the barrier in an attempt to avoid his compatriot Oscar Piastri. 

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Reflecting on the incident, Ricciardo remarked, “It was either hit him or the wall.” 

Opting for the latter, he was unable to withdraw his hands from the steering wheel in time, leading to the hand injury. 

Christian Horner shared the unfortunate news during an interview with Sky Sports, explaining that the session had been progressing well for Ricciardo until then.

Offering insight into the circumstances, Horner elaborated, “Oscar, by the time he saw him it was very late and the whip-back from the steering wheel is what’s done the damage. 

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“Shame for him but good to see that he is okay and he’s still in good spirits.” 

While Ricciardo’s recovery trajectory remains uncertain, Horner expressed hope by pointing to Lance Stroll’s speedy return after a pre-season cycling accident involving multiple fractures.

Acknowledging the uncertainty, Horner emphasised the dedicated medical team working with Ricciardo and the rapid recovery potential of athletes in motorsport. 

Comparing Ricciardo’s situation to Stroll’s, he commented, “He’s a tough Aussie and I’m sure he’ll be eager to get back in the car as quickly as he can.” 

Reports indicate that Red Bull might engage the expertise of Dr. Xavier Mir, a renowned MotoGP surgeon who previously operated on Stroll.

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In the interim, the team’s reserve driver, Liam Lawson, has stepped into the spotlight, becoming Yuki Tsunoda’s third teammate this season. 

Lawson, a Red Bull junior who competes in Super Formula, has swiftly transitioned into the role, participating in FP3 despite limited practice time before qualifying and the upcoming race.

Horner acknowledged the challenging circumstances Lawson faces, remarking, “That’s Formula 1, you get your chances, one person’s misfortune is another’s fortune but I’m sure he’ll be fine.”