Daniel Ricciardo completes Red Bull return

Sergio Perez is under mounting pressure as he continues to falter at Red Bull Racing alongside Max Verstappen.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo has finally returned to a Formula 1 cockpit, following his stint on the sidelines to recover from his hand surgery.

Ricciardo participated in a demo run in Nashville last weekend in Red Bull’s 2011 title-winning RB7, suggesting that he’s ready to make his return to the grid.

Whilst it’s yet to be confirmed, the expectation is that Ricciardo will be back behind the wheel of his AT04 at the Circuit of the Americas, a venue which he adores and is also adored by those in attendance.

Red Bull reserve Liam Lawson has replaced Ricciardo ever since the 34-year-old crashed during Free Practice 2 at the Dutch Grand Prix, where he fractured his metacarpal.

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Ricciardo underwent surgery in Barcelona, although complications have resulted in a lengthy recovery period.

With Ricciardo already having a deal to race for AlphaTauri in 2024, Red Bull have stressed that they don’t want to rush the Aussie’s return, stressing that they want a fully fit eight-time race winner.

The Australian completing a demo run is a huge indicator that his left hand is in a much better condition than it has been recently, something it’ll need to be in given the constant change of direction at COTA.

As he will be returning from a nasty injury, Ricciardo will likely need time to settle back into the car and into racing, having been away from it again for five races.

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The security of his 2024 contract does massively take the pressure off performing well, with Red Bull and AlphaTauri recognising the positive impact Ricciardo’s presence has on the team.

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AlphaTauri, of course, are still bottom of the Constructors’ Championship though, a position they’d like to avoid given that their huge rebranding isn’t far away.

Yuki Tsunoda will perhaps need to take responsibility for scoring points for the Faenza-based outfit, especially if it takes Ricciardo a few races to get fully back up to speed.

One concern for Ricciardo ahead of his return is that recovery time will be minimal in the coming weeks, as the US Grand Prix marks the start of a gruelling triple-header.