F1 driver Ricciardo has been missing from the track due to a metacarpal injury sustained during the early portions of the Dutch GP, which took place three weeks prior. The injury occurred at the Hugenholtz corner during second practice, causing Ricciardo to prematurely end his participation in the competition.
Two days post the incident, the driver underwent surgical procedures to treat his broken hand. In his absence, Red Bull‘s junior driver and 2023 Super Formula title contender, Liam Lawson, replaced Ricciardo at the race at Zandvoort.
Lawson continued to substitute for Ricciardo at the subsequent Italian GP, where Ricciardo secured his latest F1 victory in 2021 representing McLaren. Christian Horner, Red Bull‘s team boss, suggested a possibility of Ricciardo missing four races before making a comeback at the Qatar round in early October, attributing it to the time required for recovery.
AlphaTauri, in their pre-event media preview for the upcoming Singapore race, announced that Ricciardo would be present at the event, serving only engineering-related roles. No plans for Ricciardo’s participation in the following week’s Japanese GP were disclosed by the team.
Lawson shared his thoughts on substituting for Ricciardo in the same media release. The junior driver expressed increased comfort driving at Monza as compared to Zandvoort, although learning opportunities continue to present themselves. He added, “When you get more comfortable in these kinds of cars, it can make quite a big difference.”
Describing his experiences from the previous two races, Lawson delved into the complexity of grasping the difference between tire compounds, calling it a crucial aspect of the sport. Despite finishing close to clinching points at Monza, he deemed his performance successful and considered his not-so-perfect start at the race as a lesson learned for future races. He concluded, “I think if I had had a better start, perhaps things could have been different, but it’s something that I will learn from, and I’m just excited moving forward.”
Acknowledging the physical demands of F1 races, Lawson claimed substantial physical training was necessary to ensure greatness on the field while expressing his thrill in anticipation of future races. Looking ahead to the Singapore race, Lawson shared his experiences from the previous year regarding the night-time routine as Red Bull’s reserve and expressed eagerness to adapt to the unusual schedule.
With regard to the track itself, Lawson noted his lack of familiarity with Singapore’s track as a challenge as he’d only driven it on a simulator before, especially considering that street circuits are the hardest to replicate. Lawson’s gameplan involves increasing lap counts to imitate his strategy from Monza, expressing his fondness for street circuits and excitement for the forthcoming Singapore event.