Will Liam Lawson block Daniel Ricciardo from returning to Red Bull?

Daniel Ricciardo is scheduled to return to the Formula 1 grid at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix next month.

Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson has suddenly become one of the shining stars of the 2023 Formula 1 season, following his call-up at AlphaTauri to replace the injured Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo himself was only given the seat at AlphaTauri to replace Nyck de Vries, who was dropped by the Faenza-based team after just 10 races.

Just two races and a practice session later, AlphaTauri found themselves needing another driver, after Ricciardo fractured a metacarpal in his left hand following a crash during Free Practice 2 at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Up stepped Lawson in Free Practice 3 at Zandvoort, where he instantly showed his potential.

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Despite having very minimal running in F1, the Super Formula driver adjusted to the AT04 in rapid fashion and demonstrated sensational progress from the Dutch GP to the Italian Grand Prix.

In Zandvoort, where the race featured changeable conditions, Lawson finished 13th on his debut, ahead of team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

Fast forward to Monza, and the 21-year-old narrowly missed out on a points finish, after he finished P11.

As Tsunoda failed to start the race following a technical problem, Lawson once again defeated his team-mate.

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Moving onto last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, one of the most demanding and mentally challenging races of the season, the Red Bull reserve raised his level once again.

Not only did he progress to Q3, but he knocked out reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.

Lawson did it completely on merit, just as he did on Sunday where he finished in an unbelievable P9, scoring himself and the team two points.

In just three races, Lawson has already scored just one point less than Tsunoda has done all season and two more than De Vries and Ricciardo have managed.

He is going to feature again this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, with Ricciardo not set to be ready to return until the Qatar Grand Prix next month.

However, given how well he’s performing, why not give Lawson the remainder of 2023, especially as Ricciardo is reportedly guaranteed the seat in 2024.

Giving Ricciardo the rest of the season to fully recover does seem like a very sensible idea, especially as AlphaTauri aren’t playing for anything significant this year.

It would also give Lawson a chance to not only further adjust to F1 and show his potential, it would give the driver a chance to throw his name into the hat for Logan Sargeant’s seat at Williams.

Despite his sensational start to life in F1, Lawson is reportedly not going to be offered a seat by AlphaTauri in 2024, as they’re set to keep Tsunoda and Ricciardo.

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It means Sargeant’s seat is the only one which could be up for grabs, although Williams are believed to be keen on giving the American more time.

Nevertheless, Lawson needs the chance to prove that he can deliver consistent results, something which would then potentially convince Williams to accept a loan for Lawson from Red Bull, should this be something Red Bull are prepared to do.

Having a talent like Lawson on the sidelines seems completely wrong, especially as he’s instantly clicked with a car which has proven almost impossible to tame.