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Horner earmarks potential date for Ricciardo return as he provides recovery update

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Christian Horner does not expect there to be “any chance” of Daniel Ricciardo making a return to action at the Singapore Grand Prix as he recovers from his broken hand, with doubts also cast over his fitness for a comeback at the following round in Japan.

Ricciardo, who was brought in mid-season to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri, suffered a broken metacarpal during a Friday practice crash in the Netherlands, subsequently undergoing surgery that involved placing a metal plate and some screws to secure the bone.

READ MORE: ‘It was hit Piastri or hit the wall’ – Ricciardo reflects on hand-breaking incident

In his place for the Zandvoort and Monza weekends stepped Red Bull junior Liam Lawson, who has been competing in the Japan-based Super Formula series this year and holds second in the standings ahead of the season finale.

2023 Dutch GP FP2: Bizarre moment as both Piastri and Ricciardo end up in the wall at Turn 3

Asked for a timeline on Ricciardo’s recovery following Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, and about comments attributed to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko that the Australian is a doubt for both Singapore (September 15-17) and Japan (September 22-24), Horner shared a fresh update.

“I think certainly Singapore… I don’t think there’s any chance he’ll be ready for then,” the Red Bull team boss commented. “It would be optimistic for Japan, but his recovery is going well. He’s got mobility of the hand and is into rehabilitation now.

READ MORE: AlphaTauri confirm Lawson will race until Ricciardo is ready to return to action

“We’ve seen with motorcyclists rushing comebacks they can sometimes do more damage, so we just want to make sure he’s fully fit before we get [him] back in the car.”

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Ricciardo recently underwent surgery and is now going through a period of rehabilitation

AlphaTauri have already confirmed that stand-in Lawson will continue until Ricciardo is fit enough to return, with the 21-year-old New Zealander building on a promising start to his F1 career on a wet and wild Zandvoort weekend with a run to P11 at Monza.

“I think he did a solid job,” Horner said of Lawson’s efforts. “I haven’t followed his race that closely. They did a two-stop, which is unconventional on strategy, so I’ll have to look at the analysis after the race. He’s acquitted himself very well.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to Monza victory for record-breaking 10th successive F1 win

“I should think he’s pretty keen to be in the car in Suzuka [given his Super Formula experience there]. We’ll just take it on a day-by-day basis and see how the recovery and nature takes its course.”

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