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Daniel Ricciardo given 'ultimatum' to turn season around with Liam Lawson looming

RB driver Daniel Ricciardo finds himself at a critical juncture, with reports suggesting that he has just two races to salvage his season or risk being replaced by Liam Lawson.

The New Zealand Herald has reported the alleged "ultimatum" issued to Ricciardo by Red Bull's Helmut Marko following a lackluster start to the 2024 F1 season. 

Ricciardo's struggles have been evident, especially in comparison to his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who has outperformed him in the first three races of the season.

Initially harbouring hopes of a successful return to Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, Ricciardo's aspirations have faced setbacks as he has consistently lagged behind Tsunoda, with notable performance disparities in races like Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Red Bull has Liam Lawson waiting in the wings, having impressed during his previous F1 stint when he substituted for Ricciardo last year. 

Lawson is reportedly seen by Red Bull as the successor to Sergio Perez, rather than Tsunoda or Ricciardo.

With just two races remaining - Japan and China - Ricciardo faces a pivotal moment in his career. 

A potential replacement after only five races would mark a significant development, particularly given that Nyck de Vries lasted 10 races in a similar situation in 2023.

"I didn't expect to start the season like this," Ricciardo said. 

"Budapest last year, I drove the car a day before and then out-qualified Yuki and had a really strong race with no knowledge.

"Then having a full pre-season [this year] and all the races last year, I honestly thought that this year, we would start a lot stronger.

"I understand, not only me, but a few people are wondering why. The important thing is that I stay on course, not that my head is filled with nonsense or anything.

"I honestly feel good and just, unfortunately, the results haven't made me feel awesome. But deep down behind the wheel, I feel good."

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