Alpha Tauri's Liam Lawson and Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo: Liam Lawson to stand in for Australian again at Qatar Grand Prix

Alpha Tauri's Liam Lawson and Daniel RicciardoLiam Lawson replaced Daniel Ricciardo for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix after the latter crashed in practice

Liam Lawson will stand in for Daniel Ricciardo once more at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix as the Australian continues his recovery from injury.

A spokesperson said the team hoped Ricciardo, who broke his left hand at the Dutch Grand Prix, would be back for the succeeding race in the US.

Alpha Tauri want to give Ricciardo “a little more time” to recover.

“It is a combination of things but it doesn’t make any sense to risk for no reason,” the spokesperson said.

Ricciardo spent some time in the Red Bull simulator after the last race in Japan, after which it was decided to take the cautious approach to the 34-year-old’s return.

The Australian, who retuned to F1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July after being dropped by McLaren at the end of last season, has already been confirmed as an Alpha Tauri race driver for 2024, despite doing only two races for the team before suffering his injury in a crash in practice at Zandovoort.

Qatar is a ‘sprint’ weekend, which means there is only one hour of practice on Friday before qualifying later that day. Saturday comprises another qualifying session and a short sprint race.

The more intense schedule, coupled with the desert heat and high-speed nature of the circuit, were all part of the calculation to give Ricciardo more time.

Qatar will be Lawson’s fifth race for Alpha Tauri, during which time he has impressed with his performances, including scoring two points for ninth place in Singapore.

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Lawson said: “I’ve never driven here, so going into the sprint weekend will be extra tough.

“I drove the Qatar track in the simulator at the end of last week. It’s very fast, a very high-speed circuit. I’ve not seen many tracks like it, as there’s only one low-speed corner in the whole track.

“In Japan, the news became public that I’m back to the role of reserve driver next year.

“Obviously, my goal is to be in Formula 1 full-time, so as much as it’s disappointing, it’s still my goal, and it’s now about trying to make sure that I can make that happen in the future.

“Right now, I’ve still got this opportunity to keep trying to show something, and I’ll try to make the most of it. For now, as long as this lasts, I’ll focus on it.”