Daniel Ricciardo is "excited" to be race-fit once again in Formula 1, but is expecting a "physical" United States Grand Prix in Austin.
Ricciardo has been sidelined since a crash in Free Practice 2 at the Dutch Grand Prix broke his left hand and promoted Liam Lawson into a race drive for the next five events.
The eight-time Grand Prix winner was always going to return to the seat once fully fit, electing to skip the Qatar Grand Prix as he rebuilt his strength and will resume driving alongside Yuki Tsunoda at the bumpy, fast Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
The track is also renowned for its elevation changes and coupled with what is expected to be a hot Sprint weekend, the Perth native is under no illusions as to what awaits him.
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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," Ricciardo explained.
"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 [in Hungary and Belgium] and had to hit “Pause” again.
"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 the team tried [the new parts] the first time, and it was interesting to hear the feedback and comments [from Tsunoda and Lawson] which were mostly positive.
"I’m excited to see what it’s like first-hand, and 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."