Daniel Ricciardo delivers own fitness update after Nico Rosberg concerns

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo post-qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo after qualifying at Spa.

After Nico Rosberg expressed concerns over Daniel Ricciardo’s fitness for the United States GP, the AlphaTauri driver assured he is ready to go.

Ricciardo has not been in action since suffering a broken hand in a crash during Dutch GP practice, with Liam Lawson having contested the past five rounds in Ricciardo’s place.

But, Ricciardo will be back at the wheel of the AT04 for the upcoming United States Grand Prix, and has been confirmed to remain with AlphaTauri for F1 2024.

Daniel Ricciardo provides positive fitness update

On the eve of the trip to the Circuit of The Americas though, Rosberg had predicted the United States GP to be a tough return for Ricciardo, with AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost having told him in Qatar that a week prior, Ricciardo was struggling to complete a race distance in the simulator.

However, Ricciardo has moved to put any concerns to rest, confirming that he is now ready to return to action after extending his recovery time.

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“It’s good to be back! My hand is much better, and the simulator was a useful way of assessing it,” he said.

“I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go. My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.

“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit pause again, but actually, the time without racing went quite quickly.

“The current car has moved on a bit since I last drove it, but the sim was useful to get an idea of what the changes and updates have delivered. I felt a little bit of their effect, but it’s one of those things I think, once I get on track, I’ll feel them to their full effect.

“I was there in Singapore when they tried it the first time, and it was interesting to hear the feedback and comments, which were mostly positive. So, I’m excited to see what it’s like first-hand.

“As for this weekend, I’ve always enjoyed Austin. It’s very unique for a modern-day circuit, and the undulations and bumps mean it’s physical. It does beat you up, but I think I like that. I like the challenge. A lot of the apexes are quite wide as well, so there are some peculiar corners which make the track exceptional and stand out.”

With Lawson having squeezed two points out of the AT04 in Singapore, Ricciardo will be out to get points on the board before F1 2023 is over.

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