Two Australian racing drivers, Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri found themselves tangled in a disastrous accident during the initial phases of Friday’s second practice session. Ricciardo, unfortunately, ended up hitting the outer barriers in his attempt to dodge Piastri’s crashed McLaren at Zandvoort’s notably banked Turn 3.
As a result of this dramatic incident, on colliding with the wall, Ricciardo’s steering wheel abruptly twisted, inducing notable discomfort in his wrist. The 34-year-old driver immediately reported pain, speaking through team radio. This required Ricciardo to seek immediate medical attention, ultimately being transported to a neighboring hospital, located in Haarlem, spotted nursing his left arm in a sling.
The accident took a harsh turn when AlphaTauri made a statement later that evening confirming the breakage of the driver’s left metacarpal, effectively sidelining Ricciardo for the remainder of the Dutch GP weekend. With Ricciardo on a sudden sabbatical status, the team appointed Red Bull junior Lawson, who had been on standby at Zandvoort as an official reserve driver for both Red Bull teams, to take over Ricciardo’s position starting from Saturday’s FP3 session.
Helmut Marko, talking to F1 Initiative, confirmed Ricciardo’s condition stating, “He’s broken something in his hand, so he won’t race.” Commenting on Lawson, he said, “Lawson will drive. It’s difficult for him. It’s a shame because the car is good here.” Currently, Lawson holds the runner-up position in Japan’s Super Formula championship with a solid string of three wins, following his third-place finish in the previous year’s Formula 2 season.
The upcoming weekend marks Lawson’s initial experience behind the wheel of a 2023 F1 car, without any prior rookie FP1 runs under his belt for either Red Bull or AlphaTauri this year. Lawson had been previously considered to replace Nyck de Vries post Hungary, but Red Bull decided to bring in Ricciardo for a more seasoned approach to enhance the floundering AlphaTauri line-up. In response to De Vries’ withdrawal, Marko mentioned that the thought of his returning onto familial territory was ruled out.