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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo's biggest challenge this year is yet to come

Daniel Ricciardo will get back behind the wheel in the USA this weekend - but it could prove to be his toughest challenge yet this year.

Ricciardo
Analysis
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo will have his second comeback of the year this weekend when he takes to the Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix.

The Australian has been sitting on the sidelines during the last several weeks recovering from a hand injury he picked up during free practice at Zandvoort.

After just two races back behind the wheel at AlphaTauri following his McLaren split at the end of last year, Ricciardo was subject to watching, rather than driving, once again.

It was an unfortunate circumstance to befall the 34-year-old who was just starting to get back into the rhythm of F1 competition.

However, his second second chance this year will unfold in Austin, Texas - but it is going to be a tougher challenge than anything he’s experienced so far this year.

Ricciardo was not fully optimised when he was forced back to the sidelines and having been forced to endure another lengthy stint out of the car, there are certain procedures he may have to re-learn.

Unfortunately for him, his arrival back behind the wheel coincides with an F1 Sprint weekend.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Ricciardo will have just a single free practice outing to get up to speed before he is thrown into the competitive sessions that form the remainder of the weekend.

COTA is not a track that can be labelled as a technically timid race circuit, with its combination of high and medium-speed corners offering the drivers a challenge with every lap.

Ricciardo, who boasts well over 200 Grands Prix, does have experience on his side to navigate the difficulties that will come his way this weekend.

But it would be a significant performance if he was able to muster up the pace to match team-mate Yuki Tsunoda after just a single hour to get an eye in for the one-lap and race-stint attacks later in the weekend.

It also presents a significant opportunity for Ricciardo. Various question marks are being asked regarding Sergio Perez’s future at Red Bull amid a period of woe for the Mexican.

Ricciardo has been vocal over his desire to return to the Red Bull team alongside Verstappen and Perez’s ongoing form appears to be his best ticket to the destination.

An immediate impact back behind the wheel in Austin will showcase his adaptability and a solid performance will not go unnoticed by the Constructors’ Champions.

Ricciardo can also take confidence from the fact that his original comeback with AlphaTauri earlier this year was a successful one as he was hailed for his performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Channeling that immediate ability to perform from the get-go, which he displayed in Budapest, will be difficult in Austin.

But with a contract already in place for next year with AlphaTauri, Ricciardo has little to lose by attacking the weekend head on as he seeks to reassert himself - for the second time this year - in F1.

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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