Daniel Ricciardo, following a hand injury sustained during practice at Zandvoort, contributed to the career debut of 21-year-old Kiwi racer, Liam Lawson, in the world of Formula 1. The accident, resulting in a metacarpal fracture in Ricciardo’s left hand, has given Lawson a shot to take his place in the Netherlands.
Lawson, who holds second place in the Super Formula rankings, has been outstanding in four guest appearances. His quick adaptability was highlighted by him scoring two points and securing ninth place in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Lawson is set to take a step back next year, assuming a reserve driver role for Red Bull, as AlphaTauri has renewed contracts with Yuki Tsunoda and Ricciardo for 2024. However, Lawson is expected to make his last substitute appearance in Qatar’s upcoming sprint race event this weekend. This was a surprising opportunity for the young racer, who found out about it through a “random” video call on Monday.
“I was sitting at lunch and I had a random number call me and it was a FaceTime,” Lawson recalls. “I was really confused because people don’t just FaceTime randomly, so I answered it and it was just Daniel’s face! He basically said that he thought he’d let me have another weekend. Obviously good to be back, good to be in the car this weekend. I’m excited.”
Following his accident, Ricciardo was transferred to Spain immediately for surgery. Red Bull‘s team boss, Christian Horner, initially suggested a delayed return might be more sensible for Qatar, especially after the back-to-back Singapore and Japanese events.
However, AlphaTauri has given Ricciardo the liberty to decide his own return date. Now, it seems Ricciardo’s comeback will be postponed to the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, later this month.
“To be honest, after Japan, it was looking more likely that we’d be driving so we just carried on preparing like normal,” added Lawson. “I didn’t assume I was driving but we prepped like a normal situation like I would be. It’s a bit different. I want to be here full-time but just trying to make the most of this. I think [Austin] is definitely the target [for Ricciardo]. I think that’s more likely. Obviously, I can’t say for certain, but we have over a week to get more time to be ready for it. So, I would say it’s probably Austin.”