Lawson Urged to Stay Alert After Ricciardo’s Brutal Verdict

In Japan, as TV cameras shifted focus to Liam Lawson positioned behind Daniel Ricciardo amidst the red flag caused by the Aussie’s crash, Tom Coronel speculated that the reserve driver must have been inwardly celebrating. “Yes, yes!” he imagined Lawson thinking.

Just before his last substitute race with Red Bull’s junior team last year, Lawson received the news that he would continue as a reserve driver for the current championship season.

Contrary to initial expectations, Red Bull, now abbreviated as RB, opted to retain Ricciardo as Yuki Tsunoda’s teammate for 2024.

However, what was initially seen as a chance for Ricciardo to showcase his talents with Red Bull has morphed into a struggle to maintain his position within the junior team, given his disappointing performance at the start of the season.

Having been out-qualified by Tsunoda 4 times out of 4 and out-scored 7-0, Ricciardo’s aspirations of a comeback in Japan were dashed when he crashed on the opening lap of the race.

His collision with the barriers, alongside Alex Albon, prompted a red flag as track marshals worked to repair the damaged tyre barrier.

This incident produced one of the season’s memorable moments, as an F1 cameraman captured Ricciardo’s discontent on the screens with the RB team, only to zoom out and catch Lawson observing the scene from a few meters away.

Coronel found humor in the situation. “Lawson was standing behind it looking like, ‘Yes, yes!'” he remarked to Viaplay with a chuckle. “If I were him, I’d have my phone charged all the time.”

He advocated for Red Bull to part ways with Ricciardo, asserting that the 34-year-old has had his chance and that Lawson now merits the opportunity.

“Please give the opportunity to someone else. He has had his time,” he bluntly stated.

Before his crash on lap 1, Ricciardo was already trailing behind Tsunoda in qualifying, with the Japanese driver being the one to prevent him from advancing to the Q3 shootout.

Mark Hanselman from F1maximaal suggests that only the “goodwill factor” with Red Bull is preventing Ricciardo from being replaced in the seat.

“The start mainly showed Daniel Ricciardo’s lack of self-confidence. The Australian relies on his self-confidence, but is now suffering from the fact that Yuki Tsunoda is regularly underestimated,” he stated.

“Ricciardo probably also thought too easily about beating the Japanese driver, and it is clear that his self-confidence has taken a big hit.”

He further stated: “Qualifying went better than before, but if he didn’t have the goodwill factor, the death warrant would have already been signed.”

Earlier in the season, there were claims suggesting that Ricciardo had only two races to secure his Red Bull seat, or else Lawson would replace him for the Miami race. However, this was denied by Lawson’s team.

They clarified that there had been no discussions about Lawson replacing Ricciardo. Instead, Lawson remains optimistic that a chance for a full-time seat will arise in the future.