Ex Teammate Upsets Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull Dream by Emerging as Max Verstappen’s Perfect Partner

Published 12/10/2023, 5:00 PM EST

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It’s 2023, and the second seat at Red Bull is still the talk of the paddock. While Sergio Perez did finish P2 in the drivers’ championship in ’23, a lot of people, including people who work closely with Perez, don’t think he’s done the job to complete satisfaction. He shouldn’t be the person struggling to get into Q3, when his teammate, Max Verstappen, has had the most dominant season in the history of F1.

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While many people think Daniel Ricciardo might be the person who inherits the second seat by the 2025 season, a lot of pundits seem to think otherwise. They think that Red Bull has a lot of options that they need to look at, especially Ricciardo’s ex-teammate, who beat him comprehensively over 2 seasons – Lando Norris.

Lando Norris Might Get The Nod Ahead Of Daniel Ricciardo

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According to former Ferrari boss Peter Windsor, Ricciardo might not make it to the second seat at Red Bull. “I don’t think Daniel, I think they probably think he’s not quick enough now, but really good bloke to have in the car, very good to have in the sim and all rest of it, but not probably quick enough to be in the other car.” He thinks Ricciardo might well be an upgrade to Sergio Perez, but still not quite good enough to make it to the second seat. “He’s probably at least as good as Perez if not better but you know he’s, I just don’t see it to me, I just don’t think he’ll go back there or they’ll have him back”


Windsor considered Liam Lawson at the second seat for a good time and didn’t think Yuki Tsunoda could make the cut. However, when he arrived at McLaren’s driver Lando Norris, he really couldn’t think of any other person who’d fit the bill just as right. “Lando would do a pretty good job, wouldn’t he? Lando’d be pretty much their perfect driver because they probably think he’s not quite as quick as Max, but he’s very capable of winning Grand Prix and taking up the slack if there is any that Max leaves, so, I would say if I was Marco and Christian, I’d be thinking of talking to Lando,” he comments, “yeah I’d say Lando is the guy that I would go for. It doesn’t mean much I suppose, but he’s the most logical driver to have alongside Max I think.”

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However, the writing might not be up on the wall for Ricciardo just yet. Driver availability and Lando’s loyalties might play a much bigger role.

Will Lando Want to Switch to Red Bull

While there is no doubt that as of now, Red Bull is a definite upgrade to McLaren in terms of race-winning opportunities, there’s no telling what might change in a couple of years. If McLaren could produce a car that is capable of fighting for wins, it’s hard to imagine a situation where Norris would abandon ship, especially after the years of effort he’s spent with the team from Surrey. Besides, he would have to give up a guaranteed number-one driver position at McLaren, to settle for being Max’s second with the Austrian team.

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Driver availability may be another factor to consider. McLaren has signed Lando Norris on till 2025 at the very least. Considering his performances, there’s no doubt that the Zak Brown-led McLaren wouldn’t let Norris go very easily. If during a competitive season, Red Bull believes that Norris would be the formula to secure them the constructors’, there’s no doubt they would go all out for the Briton.

Watch This Story | Daniel Ricciardo faces Red Bull prodigy threat in F1 return

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Ricciardo’s other competition Liam Lawson is still inexperienced in Formula 1, and Christian Horner has voiced out that he’s looking for an experienced driver in the second seat. That’s the reason that they went for Sergio Perez over Alex Albon in the first place. If things play out well, Ricciardo might still have a solid chance to end up in his old seat.

 

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Written by:

Anirudh Kidambi

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"I have always believed that victory comes when we dare to dream big, and the courage to pursue those dreams." Hi, I'm Anirudh - Your Seasoned F1 Wordsmith at EssentiallySports I'm not just a writer; I'm a passionate scribe with an insatiable curiosity that fuels every word. My love affair with Formula 1 began in 2003 when I was merely 3 years old, and it has been my enduring passion ever since.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra

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