Surgery a possibility for Ricciardo after Dutch crash


Daniel Ricciardo has flown to Barcelona for possible surgery after breaking his hand in Dutch Grand Prix practice and could be out of action for several races of the Formula One season.

The experienced Australian, who had been preparing for his third race with AlphaTauri after making a comeback as replacement for dropped Dutch driver Nyck de Vries, crashed in Friday's second session at Zandvoort.

"He's headed off today to Barcelona, they may even have a little operation on him tomorrow to just tidy up where that break is," Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports television of Ricciardo's next steps.

Barcelona-based MotoGP traumatology specialist Javier Mir is renowned for his work and operated on Aston Martin's Lance Stroll when the Canadian broke his wrists before the start of the season.

Stroll was able to race in Bahrain two weeks later.

"It's quite a clean break and then of course it's all about the recuperation and how long that takes. Any normal human being would probably be about 10-12 weeks but we know that these guys aren't normal," said Horner.

"So it will all be about the recovery process ... is it going to be three weeks, is it a month, is it six weeks? Nobody really knows."

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza would appear to be a non-starter, coming the weekend after Zandvoort, with Singapore on September 17 and Japan on September 24.

Ricciardo, in just his third grand prix since earning a drive with the Red Bull-backed outfit, fractured his left hand when he drove into a tyre wall at Zandvoort on Friday in an attempt to avoid running headlong into fellow Australian driver Oscar Piastri's stricken McLaren after the rookie had just crashed moments earlier.

The incident left Piastri reflecting that Ricciardo's actions may have prevented an even more serious incident.

"If you're coming into that corner, it's blind, so maybe he saw me too late and turned to the wall instead of into me. So if he did, thank you," said the Melbourne rookie.

The two Australians were able to clamber out of their cars after their accidents but the 34-year-old Ricciardo had difficulty extricating himself because his hand had still been on the steering wheel as he hit the wall.

He had to be treated in hospital before his team reported: "An X-ray confirmed he sustained a break to a metacarpal on his left hand, and this injury will not allow him to continue his duties, so he will be replaced by the team's reserve driver Liam Lawson for the remainder of this weekend."

It marks a big opportunity for New Zealander Lawson, a 21-year-old from Hastings who will be making his Formula One debut.

Piastri, who has replaced Ricciardo at the British team this season, had lost control on the famed banked turn three 10 minutes into the second practice, his car spinning into the barriers.

Ricciardo had been powering around on the same line and, despite a warning yellow flag,  also swerved into the wall, hitting the brakes after seemingly only glimpsing the McLaren late.

- with Reuters