From New Zealand, Liam Lawson has been roped in by AlphaTauri to fill in for Daniel Ricciardo, who unfortunately fractured a bone in his hand during the FP2 session. Ricciardo ran off track dodging Oscar Piastri‘s crashed vehicle, his impromptu absence resulting from a subsequent hospital visit confirming his inabiity to race for the remainder of the weekend.
Liam Lawson, holding a significant lead in the current Super Formula, is no stranger to Zandvoort having competed in the F2 event the previous year. His familiarity doesn’t just end with the track; the AlphaTauri crew and its engineers are equally acquainted with Lawson, a mutual understanding that should prove beneficial.
To add to his repertoire, Lawson successfully took part in the Abu Dhabi rookie test in late 2021 with the Faenza squad and steered their vehicle during FP1 sessions in Belgium and Mexico in 2022. Lawson also gained invaluable F1 track exposure with Red Bull during the Abu Dhabi FP1 before retracing his steps for a rookie testing round with the leading team.
Red Bull‘s Christian Horner stands confident in Lawson’s abilities, candidly acknowledging the steep learning curve given his relegation to a mere singular practice session prior to the qualifying session. Horner remarked to Sky F1, “That’s why he’s here. He’s the reserve driver for both teams, for exactly a scenario like this. So, it’s in at the deep end, one practice session, in a car I don’t think he’s driven before, and then qualifying – at one of the toughest tracks. F1 is all about seizing the opportunity, and I’m certain he’ll make the most of this one.”
As it stands, Ricciardo will not regain his position behind the wheel for the rest of the weekend. Horner addressed the situation sorrowfully, “Oh no, he’s broken a bone in his hand. A great shame for him, because the session was going well for him, and just unlucky. Oscar, by the time he saw him, it was very late. The damage was done by the whip back from the steering wheel. However, it’s comforting to see him in good spirits despite everything.”
Renowned MotoGP Doctor Xavier Mir, who was instrumental in Lance Stroll‘s rapid recovery from a cycling accident earlier this year, is expected to oversee Ricciardo’s treatment. Horner expressed hope in Ricciardo’s recovery stating, “I think you’ve just got to take it one day at a time. He’s got a good medical team that he’ll be working with. These guys recover incredibly quickly. We saw Lance earlier in the year with I think what was a multiple break [rather] than what Daniel has. He’s a tough Aussie. I’m sure he’ll be eager to get back in the car as quickly as he can.”