Daniel Ricciardo's hopes of returning to Formula One in mid-September appear to be dashed, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner saying he doesn't "think there’s any chance he’ll be ready" for the Singapore Grand Prix. The AlphaTauri driver was sent to hospital after crashing in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix, before undergoing surgery on a broken wrist.
The 34-year-old AlphaTauri driver was also missing for the weekend's Italian GP - won by reigning world champion and runaway championship leader Max Verstappen. Ricciardo had to have four screws and a plate inserted into his right hand after the crash at Zandvoort, where he ran into a tyre wall in an attempt to avoid running headlong into the stricken McLaren of compatriot, Oscar Piastri.
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Horner had initially backed the veteran Aussie to make a speedy recovery and suggested the AlphaTauri man could be targeting a return for the Singapore GP. However, the Red Bull boss has provided a brutal new update about the Aussie's injury status after revealing that he will likely have to spend another month on the sidelines.
Daniel Ricciardo likely to be sidelined until October
“Certainly Singapore, I don’t think there’s any chance he’ll be ready for then, and I think it would be optimistic for Japan,” Horner said at the Italian Grand Prix. The Red Bull team principle suggested that the Qatar Grand Prix in October would be a more realistic return race for the 34-year-old.
“But his recovery is going well, he’s got mobility of the hand, and he’s into rehabilitation now," Horner added. “But we’ve seen with motorcyclists rushing comebacks, they can sometimes do more damage. We just want to make sure he’s fully fit before he gets back in the car.”
If Ricciardo does return for Qatar it will mean he will have missed four races for AlphaTauri, having only just returned to the F1 grid with Red Bull's sister team for races in Hungary and Belgium. New Zealand driver Liam Lawson will remain in the hot seat as Ricciardo's replacement until the Aussie is fit enough to return.
“I think he’s pretty keen to be in the car in Suzuka,” Horner said about Lawson. “We’ll just take it on a day-by-day basis and see how the recovery and nature take its course.”
Max Verstappen clinches record 10th straight win
At the Italian GP, Verstappen secured a 10th straight win with victory in Monza - the most in F1 history. "That's a nice stat," Verstappen said after Sunday's win.
Another flawless performance from the two-time defending champion helped Verstappen beat teammate Sergio Perez by 6.802 seconds for a Red Bull one-two. Carlos Sainz was third, 11.082 behind Verstappen and just ahead of Charles Leclerc as the two Ferrari drivers battled for the final spot on Monza's iconic podium.
"I never would have believed that was possible but we had to work for it today and that made it definitely a lot more fun," Verstappen said. The win also increased Verstappen's huge championship lead to 145 points in a crushingly dominant season for the 25-year-old Dutchman.
Piastri was at the centre of the race's biggest controversy after being clipped by Mercedes' seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton on lap 41 of 51, while battling for eighth place. Hamilton - who was slapped with a five-second penalty - apologised to Piatri after the race after recovering to improve to a sixth-placed finish. Piastri's hopes of finishing in the points were ruined though, with the McLaren driver having to pit after suffering front-wing damage.
"It was totally my fault," Hamilton said after the race. "It actually wasn't intentional. I went and apologised to him straight afterwards.
"I got up alongside him and just misjudged the gap I had to the right and clipped him. It could happen at any time. I knew shortly afterwards it must have been my fault and I wanted to make sure he knew it wasn't intentional. That's what gentleman do."
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