Daniel Ricciardo’s Grid Chat with Christian Horner Revealed

Daniel Ricciardo’s aspirations for a comeback to Red Bull Racing are still alive, as Christian Horner insists it’s “very early” in the season to make any definitive decisions. Among the contenders eyeing Sergio Perez’s race seat for the 2025 season, Ricciardo’s initial performances haven’t unfolded as expected.

Struggling to keep pace with his teammate Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying, Ricciardo’s invalidated lap time of 1:17.466 in Q1 at the Australian Grand Prix fell short of Tsunoda’s best time in the same session.

Unfortunately, Ricciardo’s lap was scrapped due to exceeding track limits, resulting in his elimination from Q1 and relegation to the rear of the grid at Albert Park. Despite starting from the back, Ricciardo managed to climb up to 12th position during the race.

However, he never seemed poised for a points-scoring finish. In contrast, Tsunoda, who qualified eighth, drove the VCARB01 to a commendable seventh-place finish, securing Red Bull Racing’s first points of the championship.

Nevertheless, Ricciardo’s hopes for a return to Red Bull Racing remain buoyed, thanks to Horner’s words of encouragement conveyed to him ahead of the race.

“He just wished me well and just told me to keep my head down and just not be discouraged,” he said.

Once again, the eight-time Grand Prix victor emphasized that his current challenges with RB Racing are vastly different from his experiences at McLaren, where he struggled to find solutions.

“Obviously, I know how I feel, and maybe not everyone does. But it’s a very different situation to McLaren,” he further stated.

“I think especially 2022, I was running on very, very little confidence. I was kind of confused with the car and I didn’t really understand it. That was a completely different thing.

“We’re certainly not achieving what we thought we would be, but it’s not through being lost.”

Ricciardo can take solace in the fact that there is ample time to stage a comeback, a belief shared by Horner.

“He’s had a tough weekend, haven’t really looked at his race yet but pretty similar pace to Yuki in the race,” Horner stated.

“He had a tough day yesterday [qualifying] getting that lap disallowed. So just just want to give him a bit of encouragement.

“He’s a big boy, he’ll pick himself up but sometimes being a Formula 1 driver is a bit lonely so a bit of encouragement is never a bad thing.”

When asked about Ricciardo’s performance in the early part of the season and its implications for the 2025 Red Bull seat, Horner responded, “It is very early in the year to be thinking about that.”

However, he emphasized that the selection process won’t be limited to Ricciardo and Tsunoda, indicating that Red Bull is open to considering drivers beyond their current roster.

“We want to field the best pairing that we can at Red Bull Racing. Sometimes, you’ve got to look outside the pool as well,” he stated.

His statement coincided with Carlos Sainz’s victory at the Australian Grand Prix, prompting Horner to acknowledge that he won’t “rule out” the possibility of re-signing the Spaniard, who originally debuted in Formula 1 with Red Bull’s junior team.

Regarding Ricciardo, his position at RB Racing is currently secure. Reports suggesting that he had received an ultimatum and is at risk of losing his seat to Liam Lawson are premature.