Ricciardo having to rebuild wrist strength on F1 return

Daniel Ricciardo admitted wrist strength was the biggest physical hurdle upon his F1 return. Image: XPB Images

Daniel Ricciardo admitted wrist strength was the biggest physical hurdle upon his F1 return. Image: XPB Images

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he’s still lacking strength in his left wrist following his F1 return at the United States Grand Prix.

The Australian ended a five-race injury-induced hiatus from the grid a week ago after recovering from a broken little finger sustained during practice for the Dutch GP.

Broken in seven places, that necessitated surgery after which his hand was placed in a splint to stabilise the finger and promote recovery.

That left him unable to train as he usually would and suffered a degree of atrophy in his wrist – a weakening of the muscles through a lack of use – as a consequence.

“Fortunately, the pinky, I don’t use too much,” Ricciardo said of using his still-recovering hand in the car.

“I watched some onboard from the weekend and I’m even lifting the pinky in some corners.

“You can kind of get away with pushing the wheel, so it’s not too bad.

“It was actually, I think it’s really just because I haven’t done a whole of strength stuff obviously since it’s been broken, it’s more just like a little bit of wrist strength,” he added.

“Even though the rest is fine you just lost a bit of wrist strength, so that was a little bit more tired at the end of the race – but nothing actually cramped up, nothing stopped me.”

The United States Grand Prix was something of a baptism of fire for Ricciardo with an exceptionally bumpy track hosting a Sprint format weekend.

That left just an hour of practice before the competitive running began, which saw two qualifying sessions and almost 80 laps of racing across Saturday and Sunday.

In Sunday’s grand prix, damage mid-race compromised Ricciardo’s performance and saw him drop through the field to be classified last.

However, that belied a more positive outing as far as the eight-time race winner was concerned.

“On paper, it didn’t look good,” he admitted.

“But actually, we saw after the race in the debrief we had what actually broke on the car short after the first stop, and how much it cost us.

“It didn’t throw me out of the race, so to speak, it did put me out of the race, or at least out of contention.

“There was things over the weekend, I think. There was definitely more positives than not, it just didn’t show in the final result.

“But that’s why we have, this weekend, to be in Q3 and get points!”

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