Daniel Ricciardo asserts his recovering broken hand was “no excuse” for a “miserable” Formula 1 return also stymied by car damage in the United States Grand Prix.

Ricciardo, who replaced Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri in July, was embarking upon the third outing of his comeback when a practice crash at Zandvoort witnessed him sustain a break to the metacarpal in his left hand.

The Australian had been sidelined since that incident at the end of August but finally marked his return to the AT04 cockpit at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend.

Despite an encouraging Sprint Saturday, Ricciardo dropped back from his 15th-place grid berth on Sunday, trailing home last of the classified runners in 17th position.

Ricciardo, who gained two spots through Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s subsequent disqualifications, claims that he encountered no complications with his hand.

“Physically, it’s pretty good,” he said on Sunday. “I actually felt probably worse [after Saturday’s Sprint race]. I say worse. Obviously still okay, but I felt like I got out of the car probably sweating more. So maybe that was just a good little warm-up for me.

“I think there’s positives of the hand is no excuse. I think that was good. I think we did well with the timing of the return to kind of have no hesitations or excuses.

“Physically, it’s definitely a tougher race and I still felt okay, we were just limited with damage.”

Ricciardo’s attempts to make progress beyond his opening pitstop were hindered by running over debris that damaged his brake duct, which the team said resulted “in a significant loss of aero load and balance”.

AlphaTauri admitted that Ricciardo’s second pit stop later in the race was made with the intention to resolve the issue in case of a late Safety Car, one that would not materialise.

Reviewing the events that ultimately unravelled his race prospects, Ricciardo explained: “We lost a lot of pace very quickly. I told the team ‘sorry guys, I’ve got nothing right now, I really can’t do anything’.

“Then they said ‘it looks like we’ve lost something’, and they came back and said ‘yeah, there’s damage to somewhere on the front of the car’.

“I guess it was debris because they mentioned Stroll. I think we got close but I don’t think we touched. We must have picked up some debris somewhere and that made our race a pretty miserable one, I won’t lie.

“We’re at best a top 10 car, and when you put damage into it we are certainly out of the points.”

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) AlphaTauri AT04. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.


With team-mate Yuki Tsunoda managing to end up 8th alongside scoring the bonus point for the fastest race lap, Ricciardo also lamented the timing of his opening pit stop.

“Most of our day today was misfortune,” he rued. “But for sure there is still some things to work on, for the team’s side but also for me.”

“Even in the first stint, I think the timing of the stop wasn’t great, but I don’t know, I’ll always hold myself accountable and be like ‘okay, could I have read that a little bit better, should I have tried to be more proactive?’

“I definitely did make it aware that I was going to probably lose time in traffic. I’ll always be a little bit critical of myself.

“For sure some things that we can do better, so I’m glad we don’t have too much of a break and I think also for my race fitness, just to keep smashing it out now I think is good. Today was a long one but I think we’ll quickly learn from this.”

Austin commenced a run of three successive race weekends, with trips to Mexico and Brazil next up before a doubleheader in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi rounds out the year.

Ricciardo insists that there are plenty of positives to take from the US GP weekend, leaving him optimistic that he can string together an improved race run this weekend.

He added: “At times, we lacked communication but I think especially once I got the damage, nothing really felt that constructive to give back because we’re working with a suboptimal car.

“For sure, there’s things which I take confidence from: some race fitness, the hand, a few things, which even just getting behind the wheel in FP1 like lap one, I felt like I was able to push and lean on it.

“There’s certainly some inner confidence in that. But I would say in race conditions, next week I’ll do better.”

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