Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 future is still uncertain even though he’s “protected” by Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

According to veteran BBC F1 journalist Andrew Benson, Ricciardo is still “at risk” of losing his seat to Liam Lawson for 2025.

However, the saving grace for Ricciardo is that he has the backing of the Red Bull boss.

Despite showing flashes of brilliance, such as qualifying fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix, Ricciardo has generally struggled to get on level terms with RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Tsunoda leads 7-2 in the qualifying head-to-head and is 14 points clear in the drivers’ championship.

Canada was encouraging for Ricciardo though as he responded to heavy criticism from 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneueve to finish in the points.

For 2025, it’s still unclear whether Ricciardo will stay or Lawson will get a deserved call-up as a full-time driver.

“Ricciardo is 7-2 down on Tsunoda in grand prix qualifying sessions this year and slightly slower on average,” Benson wrote. “And the problem with that is that Red Bull don’t rate the Japanese as a top-line driver.

“This is why Ricciardo has gone from being considered a potential replacement for Sergio Perez in the main Red Bull team, to being at risk of losing his seat.

Reserve driver Liam Lawson is waiting in the wings.

“But Ricciardo is currently protected by team principal Christian Horner. It remains to be seen which way Red Bull go in choosing a partner for Tsunoda at what is now called RB in 2025.”

Ricciardo has generally been inconsistent since returning to F1 in the middle of last year.

Even putting aside his injury, his starring performances have been erratic with only his impressive drive in Mexico City the standout performance from last year.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9,…

Similarly in 2024, the Miami sprint and the Canada weekend are the main highlights.

“Ricciardo’s performance for RB at the Canadian Grand Prix – qualifying a superb fifth and finishing in the points in eighth place despite a five-second penalty for jumping the start – was exactly what he needed after an unconvincing start to the season,” Benson added.

“Ricciardo was the subject of some harsh criticism from Jacques Villeneuve, who was a pundit for Sky television over the weekend, with the 1997 world champion asking: “Why is he still in F1?” Ricciardo did not take kindly to that. But, whatever one thinks of Villeneuve’s comments, the fact is that Ricciardo has not been performing as Red Bull expected since he returned to F1.

“He replaced Nyck de Vries with the team who were then called Alpha Tauri midway through last season and was unlucky to break his hand in a crash at the Dutch Grand Prix, only his third race after returning, and miss five races. But in the events he did feature in last year, he was more often than not slower than team-mate Yuki Tsunoda – apart from a starring performance in Mexico.

“And the trend has continued this year, with the odd exception such as the sprint qualifying session in China and now Canada.”