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The engines on Daniel Ricciardo‘s F1 career seem to be buckling towards an unflattering stop. The 8-time Grand Prix Winner showed the ultimate promise to Christian Horner with the 2nd quickest (test) lap around Silverstone before the 2023 British GP, just short of Max Verstappen‘s lap time. Sadly, his test-lap time was the fastest he managed after returning to the Red Bull family.

Per Le Mans winner, Richard Bradley, his “amateur” crash with Alex Albon in Japan is the cherry on top of Liam Lawson‘s cake (walk) to replace him. The Honey Badger reportedly has a summer break deadline from Red Bull. If he doesn’t improve his performance, he’s out and Liam Lawson’s in. And with VCARB teammate Yuki Tsunoda suddenly upping the pressure with his pace, all’s not well. Ricciardo has been out-qualified in all 4 races before the Chinese GP.

F1 Pundit Richard Bradley believes the Aussie will not even see F1’s summer break in this subpar state. He believes that Ricciardo’s ‘fairytale’ Red Bull dream will end after the Miami GP, a place where he is immensely loved. “After Miami, he will be replaced, 100%,” Bradley declared on the ‘On Track GP’ podcast, as quoted by FormulaPassion.

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Bradley said, “As soon as we go to Europe, he will no longer be there. As a youngster, I raced at Suzuka on numerous occasions because I competed in Super Formula. That incident (Lap 1 crash in Japan) – the one that happened with Albon, ed. – is a complete loss of concentration. At that point, as a driver, you know that you will have a car in your blind spot… In Formula 1, the blind spot is huge, crashing into Albon like he did was an amateur mistake that is expected from a Formula 4 driver. I was really surprised, and at the moment I haven’t seen anything that convinces me that Ricciardo deserves to stay in that seat instead of Liam Lawson.”

Earlier reports indicated that Red Bull’s Helmut Marko stated that if there were no improvements in Ricciardo’s performance, they could potentially replace him with Lawson. Marko commented, “But this is a complex topic, we need to wait and see how it goes.” However, what added pressure to Ricciardo was when Marko said it would be ‘exciting’ to see Lawson race this year.

As it stands, all data and statistics are against the 34-year-old Aussie. Lawson’s ominous presence at the VCARB garage at every race weekend doesn’t help him either. Yet, Ricciardo is sure that his revival is very near.

Daniel Ricciardo declares he “can win races again”

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The last time Ricciardo stood on the podium was at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, which was also his last victory. That was the only time he shone in an otherwise lackluster 2-year stint with McLaren. Though he has affirmed that he feels like his winning self after returning to Red Bull, results disagree.

Nonetheless, his ambitions remain sky-high. “The truth is, if I draw a line under it and I speak about myself in the third person: Why did Daniel Ricciardo return after a few months off last year? Because I believe I can stand on the podium again,” Ricciardo told Speedcafe. “I can win races again. Ultimately, that is it.

via Reuters

“The belief is there,” he added. “As long as that belief is still there, I think I’ll be happy being here. But when I eventually do hang it up, I would love to have stood on the podium a few more times.”

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Ricciardo’s ambitions and grit are commendable. But all drivers who make it into F1 have always dreamed of being the World Champions. It only works out for a handful in the books of history.

Written by

Yash Kotak

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Yash is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a strong passion for communicating through written word and a keen interest in the world of motorsports, he thoroughly enjoys being a fan of F1 and covering it for other fans. Ever since he watched the 'INSIDE TRACKS' episode covering the 2018 German Grand Prix, he has fallen in love with the intriguingly complex world of F1.
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Edited by

Varunkumaar Chelladurai