AlphaTauri confirm Lawson will race at Monza – and until Ricciardo is ready to return to action
AlphaTauri have confirmed Liam Lawson will continue to deputise for Daniel Ricciardo until the Australian is ready to return to racing.
Ricciardo broke his hand in a crash during second practice for the Dutch Grand on Friday, with Red Bull junior Lawson drafted in as a last minute replacement.
Lawson went on to qualify in 20th place for the race but acquitted himself well in the Grand Prix itself, managing to navigate one of the most chaotic races in recent memory to finish in P13, despite wet weather, red flags, Safety Car restarts and a penalty making his Formula 1 debut anything but straightforward.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo was flown to Spain to have surgery on his hand on Sunday.
“Had surgery this morning, got my first bit of metalwork so that’s cool,” Ricciardo said on social media when he posted a photo from his hospital bed on Sunday evening. “Big thanks to everyone who reached out and kept my spirits up. This ain’t a setback, just all part of the comeback.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner confirmed after the race at Zandvoort that the eight-time race winner would be out of action at least until after next week's Italian Grand Prix.
“He had an operation earlier today, he’s had several screws and a plate fitted to his metacarpal, it went well, it was successful,” said Horner.
“It was a fairly straightforward procedure so now it is all about recovery and we’ll see. For a normal human being that would be a couple of months, for a Grand Prix driver it’s often much shorter.”
Lawson was initially only called up for the Dutch Grand Prix, but on Monday afternoon AlphaTauri confirmed he would continue to race until Ricciardo is fully fit and ready to get back behind the wheel.
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"We are delighted that Daniel’s surgery went well and that he is now on the road to recovery," the Italian team said in a statement.
"We hope to see him at the track again very soon, but until he is fully fit, we can confirm that Liam, who did a good job in difficult circumstances in Zandvoort, will continue to drive alongside Yuki, starting from our home race this weekend in Monza."
Lawson, 21, said after his debut on Sunday he was simply happy to make the chequered flag, given how hectic the race was.
“It was good, it was a lot going on. When I was rolling up to the grid and it was starting to rain, it wasn’t the best feeling but the race was okay,” he said afterwards.
"I think the second half of the race was not so bad, once we got clean air and also on the inters at the end was not too bad. Just happy to survive.”