ZANDVOORT, Netherlands – An unexpected turn of events at the Dutch Grand Prix has opened an door for Red Bull‘s reserve driver, Liam Lawson. After Daniel Ricciardo suffered a hand injury during a practice session on Friday, the 21-year-old New Zealander and AlphaTauri stand-in recorded his first laps of the week on Saturday.
Ricciardo, a seasoned professional, broke a bone while trying to avoid a crashed McLaren at the banked Turn 3 corner. His return timeline remains uncertain, but given the severity of a bone break, suggestions are he may not recover in time for the Italian Grand Prix scheduled for Sep. 3.
Stepping in for Ricciardo will be Lawson, set to make his Formula One debut with the number 40 on his card. A Red Bull‘s reserve driver, Lawson had previously participated in Friday practice for AlphaTauri in Belgium and Mexico last year, and at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Red Bull.
Unfortunately, bad weather is anticipated to bring in heavy rain, which may limit Lawson’s track time ahead of the qualifying scheduled on Saturday afternoon. The final 60-minute session possibly seeing a reduction leaving him with less time to familiarize himself with the track.
Despite the limited track practice time and the pressure of an unscheduled debut, Lawson, who is also being considered for a drive at AlphaTauri next season, views this as a golden opportunity to showcase his potential.
Further down the line, Formula One‘s itinerary includes a double header at Singapore on Sep. 17 and Japan on Sep.24. It remains to be seen when Ricciardo would make his comeback while Lawson seizes his unexpected chance to make his mark.