Daniel Ricciardo reveals ‘wuss’ factor behind lengthy lay-off

Michelle Foster
Red Bull hopeful Daniel Ricciardo talking to Max Verstappen.

Daniel Ricciardo could again be Max Verstappen's team-mate.

Revealing his recovery from a broken hand was “tougher” than he thought it would be, Daniel Ricciardo quipped he was “probably a bit of a wuss” about it as well.

Back on the grid with AlphaTauri after a months on the sidelines, Ricciardo’s comeback was curtailed when he crashed at Turn 3 at the Zandvoort circuit during second practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.

The Honey Badger lamented “my hand” as he climbed out of his stricken AT04 clutching his left hand.

Daniel Ricciardo reveals recovery was ‘more painful’ than expected

He was taken to hospital for checks with AlphaTauri revealing he had broken a metacarpal and that it would require surgery.

That was almost two months ago.

While Red Bull had hoped to have the Aussie back in the car sooner rather than later, his comeback was pushed back from Japan to Qatar with the driver finally back in action at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

He concedes it took a lot longer than he thought it would as his recovery was “more painful” than he expected it would be.

“Well, I would say, tougher than I thought. But I’m probably a bit of a wuss as well. So maybe not tougher than I thought!” he told the media at the Circuit of The Americas.

“But yeah, I think it was really just when the accident happened, and we were aware of what bone broke, they seemed fairly OK with that bone, in terms of ‘oh yeah, it’s a relatively easy one’, to let’s say, fix.

“But then when we got the surgery done in Spain, we got further checks done and it was just the break was a lot worse than it first seemed.

“So I think that’s what took a lot longer for the recovery, and probably made it a little more painful for myself.”

He added: “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.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2024 driver line-up: Who is confirmed for next season’s grid?

Most F1 wins by engine: RBPT move to 32nd victory with Qatar victory

The good news for Ricciardo is this weekend he’ll be stepping into a much-improved AT04, the car having been updated while he was away.

“I went out to Singapore where they had some pretty big updates. And that was actually a pretty positive weekend for the team. So that looked good. And the drivers were saying that they could feel some good differences,” he said.

“So yeah, I’m expecting a car that is a little stronger than where I left it.

“But I mean, it’s going to be the third race I’ve done this year, so I’m still very green for this season. But in saying that, I’m not using that as an excuse, but yeah, everything kind of still feels new to me.”

Read next: Max Verstappen responds to speculation surrounding Red Bull ‘power struggle’ and Helmut Marko