Daniel Ricciardo gives F1 fans what they want at Japan GP despite missing race

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Daniel Ricciardo stepped back onto the F1 grid after AlphaTauri parted ways with Nyck de Vries, as the Red Bull reserve driver made his return alongside Yuki Tsunoda. He had enjoyed time away from racing and after breaking a metacarpal bone in his hand, but clearly wants to be racing once again after penning a new contract extension to remain with the team for the 2024 season – much to the delight of the sport’s fanbase.

AlphaTauri, who race under the Red Bull umbrella and will be closer to Christian Horner’s team once again next season, had the difficult decision of who should be driving for them next season. Ricciardo was drafted in alongside Tsunoda after De Vries’ departure, but recently Liam Lawson has performed ably in place of the 34-year-old.

The veteran broke a bone in his hand during the Dutch Grand Prix, just three rounds into his F1 return at Zandvoort. He has been sidelined since, but could be targeting a return at the Qatar GP in early October, as today’s race in Japan was deemed optimistic.

But with Lawson impressing and very well thought of within the Red Bull hierarchy, he put Ricciardo’s position under threat – especially after emphatically claiming that he would not be happy returning to be a team’s reserve driver, eyeing up a 2024 seat.

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But F1 fans believe that Ricciardo will retain his position at AlphaTauri. After 8,250 Express Sport readers gave their view on Ricciardo’s future, an overwhelming majority felt that the rebranded team should keep the Aussie on for the 2024 season.

As many as 5,857 (71 per cent) of those polled felt that the Aussie had done enough to earn a place on next season’s grid, though 2,393 (29 per cent) were of the opinion that the team should look in another direction.

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AlphaTauri confirmed before qualifying that Ricciardo and Tsunoda had extensions confirmed for next season, opting for experience and delighting fans who clearly feel that the correct decision was made.

Speaking about the new deal. Ricciardo said: “I’m stoked to be driving with Yuki again next year and continuing the journey with Scuderia AlphaTauri. Following the progress we have already made and the plans for the future, it’s an exciting time for the Team.

“We are building and it is a great feeling. There is a lot of work to do, but we are heading in the right direction and there is a lot to look forward to. Bring on 2024!”

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