Ricciardo limps away after big crash in practice

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia walks away from his crashed racing car during a Formula One practice session on Friday
CLOSE THING: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia walks away from his crashed racing car during a Formula One practice session on Friday
Image: GETTY IMAGES/LEONHARD FOEGER

Daniel Ricciardo limped away in pain on Friday after crashing his Renault heavily during second free practice for this weekend’s Styrian Formula One Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old Australian lost control of his car at Turn Nine and bumped backwards into the barriers, destroying much of the rear of his vehicle. After a lengthy delay, the McLaren-bound driver hauled himself out of the cockpit and, limping heavily, walked out across the gravel trap.

He told his team on radio that he was OK as the session was red-flagged to a halt. He was collected by the medical car and taken to the circuit medical centre.

On a hot day at the Red Bull Ring, with torrential rain forecast for Saturday, the accident may have ruined his prospects for Sunday’s race, even if his team can perform all the necessary repairs.

Earlier Ricciardo had welcomed Fernando Alonso’s Formula One return as his Renault replacement in 2021, while ruling out sacrificing any time in the car to help the Spaniard get up to speed.

The Australian, who is moving to McLaren at the end of the season, told a Styrian Grand Prix video news conference in Austria on Thursday that he was excited about the double world champion’s comeback, announced the day before.

“It’s going to be great, obviously for the sport. He’s such a name in the sport and has been for so many years,” the 31-year-old said of a rival who will be 39 in July.

“To return with the team and the brand that got him his titles I think is a good fit. And I’m excited to race against him again.

“It’s cool. The young guys are good but they make me feel old, so having another older driver on the grid now it’s better for me.”

Alonso last raced for McLaren in 2018 and Ricciardo was asked whether he would be happy to hand over his car for any Friday practice sessions in 2020. The answer was no.

“I heard the words ‘help Fernando Alonso’. He doesn’t need any help. It didn’t look like he’s slowed down at all with age. His last season in F1 was a pretty strong one from everything I heard and saw.”

Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul said on Wednesday there were no plans to give Alonso track time at race weekends but they might run him elsewhere in a 2018 car.

Ricciardo’s French teammate Esteban Ocon, for whom Alonso was a boyhood hero, said the Spaniard would help build something new at Renault.

“He’s very motivated. I had him on the text yesterday or before yesterday and he’s very keen to come back,” the 23-year-old said.

 

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