Daniel Ricciardo told to finish P20 at every race as Oscar Piastri set to replace him

Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren future looks in doubt amid his struggles this year and the recent developments at Alpine.

A fan on social media has suggested that Daniel Ricciardo intentionally finish last every race between now and the end of the season to spite McLaren.

The Australian has struggled since his arrival at McLaren at the start of last year, and he has been out-qualified 26 times in 35 races by team-mate Lando Norris.

Ricciardo ended last year 45 points behind the Briton in the Drivers’ Standings, but the silver lining for him and the team was his victory at Monza, which was the British side’s first since 2012.

It was clear though, that performances needed to improve coming into the current season, but the 33-year-old has been faced with a car that will not work for him, drawing public criticism from CEO Zak Brown.

READ: Lando Norris squashes Daniel Ricciardo ‘mind games’ accusation

Nonetheless, the American, as well as team principal Andreas Seidl, affirmed their belief that Ricciardo could yet turn things around and start performing more consistently.

Generally, this has been the case since the Monaco Grand Prix; Ricciardo has managed points in three of the last six races, and finished ahead of Norris in Baku and Canada.

Amid his recent improvements, both he and the team have confirmed that they intend to honour the agreement that sees him stay with the eight-time champions until the end of next season, but there has been a twist in the tail since then.

Sebastian Vettel kickstarted silly season when he announced his retirement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, before Aston Martin announced the signing of Fernando Alonso for next season.

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This took Alpine by surprise, and the French team responded by promoting Oscar Piastri to the full-time seat, but he has rebelled against it, with the consensus being that he is poised to join McLaren next year.

He would be replacing Ricciardo as a result if that were to materialise, although Alpine are adamant that they have a contractual agreement with Piastri.

All of this could mean that Ricciardo ends up back at Alpine two years after he left the Enstone-based outfit, but many feel that he has been hard done by at the hands of McLaren.

“If I were Daniel I would finish in P20 on purpose for the rest of the season out of pure pettiness,” said one fan, with others joking that he might not be far off that without trying.

He was defended by others though, with another Twitter user commenting that the MCL36 has not been a friend to Ricciardo this year, playing a detrimental role in his form.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has not ruled out the possibility of the eight-time race winner returning to his team.