Daniel Ricciardo reveals reason for extended recovery period

Complications were discovered with Daniel Ricciardo's fractured metacarpal whilst in Barcelona for surgery.

After not competing in Formula 1 since Friday 25 August at the Dutch Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo is finally returning to the grid this weekend.

Ricciardo will be back in the cockpit of his AT04 at the United States Grand Prix, a venue where he often receives tremendous support.

With the exception of a demo run in Nashville last weekend, Ricciardo hasn’t driven an F1 car since his accident during Free Practice 2 at Zandvoort, which left him with a fractured metacarpal in his left hand.

Following the crash, Ricciardo was replaced by Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson, so that he could fly to Barcelona for surgery.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies 

Initially, the 34-year-old was informed that it’s be a straightforward operation; however, the doctors in the Spanish city quickly discovered that the fracture was “a lot worse than it first seemed”.

This is what has kept Ricciardo on the bench for significantly longer than expected, with most having assumed that he would’ve returned potentially at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Instead, Ricciardo has missed five races, although Lawson to his credit performed brilliantly in the Aussie’s place.

Making his return at the challenging Circuit of the Americas will test the durability of Ricciardo’s left hand, especially given the constant change of direction throughout the first sector.

Article continues below

He discussed his recovery ahead of action getting underway on Friday, with him admitting that it’s been “tougher than I thought” to get into a position where he can race again.

“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!” Ricciardo said, as reported by Motorsport.com.

READ: Nico Rosberg fires stern warning at Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

“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.”