Formula One world champion Max Verstappen claimed victory in the sprint race ahead of the Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen clinched pole for the sprint in Friday's qualifying session, and capitalised on that effort to finish ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on Saturday.

The Dutchman had to see off an early push from Leclerc, but ultimately had too much.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate, recovered from an early mistake to finish third.

Daniel Ricciardo took fourth, having fended off the challenge of both Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri.

It was a bad drive for Lewis Hamilton, who was penalised for speeding in the pit lane, dropping him from eighth down to 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo said he has been assured by Red Bull that he is not set to lose his seat – but admitted if he continues to get his “arse whooped” he does not deserve to be in Formula One.

Following a troubled start to his first full season back on the grid, Ricciardo, 34, arrives for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix as a driver under pressure.

Ricciardo was handed a reprieve by Red Bull’s junior outfit, RB, midway through last season, after he was dumped by McLaren.

But he has failed to get up to speed in 2024, out-qualified by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at every event, and without a point to his name.

He also crashed out on the first lap in Japan a fortnight ago, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner – integral in bringing him back into the fold – said here in Shanghai that Ricciardo has “under-performed” so far this season.

It has even been suggested that a failure to turn his troubling form around could see Ricciardo replaced by Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson as early as the next race in Miami.

But in an interview with the PA news agency, Ricciardo said: “Everybody in the team is shutting that down. The black and white, is that I have a contract.

“However, I have to earn my spot. I don’t want these results to continue for a year, and for me to say: ‘well I should be here because it is on paper’. I am not going to be happy with that. At the end of the day, if I am getting my arse whooped I don’t deserve to be here.

“I want to get back to a place where I know I can be, and I feel confident I can get there. I am aware I have to get the results. But from my side, I am not a rookie trying to prove something or to establish myself. I do have a history in this sport. I do have a track record that says I can win.

“But if we get to December and I have not been able to extract that then maybe I will be like, ‘fine I am done with this’ or ‘I am not good enough’, but I certainly don’t feel like that in my heart.”

Ricciardo’s stock fell after two poor years with McLaren, and his career looked over when his contract was cancelled at the end of 2022. But an upbeat Ricciardo believes his troubled spell with the British team has allowed him to remain positive amid his current disappointing run.

“I went through this at McLaren and I bought into the noise because I ended up losing the belief,” he said. “I would question myself: ‘F***, maybe I have lost that edge? Maybe I can’t do it anymore?’

“But now I sit here in a different place because I do feel rejuvenated. That is why it is frustrating because in my head it makes no sense.

“If I do well here and in Miami, all of a sudden it is forgotten about. I don’t get caught up in it, but deep down, I know I have to do better.”

Ricciardo announced at his comeback race in Hungary last year that his dream is to return to Red Bull where he raced to seven of his eight career wins between 2014 and 2018.

But recent results have seen him looking over his shoulder, rather than as a potential replacement for Sergio Perez, who is out of contract at the end of the year, or even Max Verstappen, whose future with the all-conquering, but scandal-hit team, remains uncertain.

“Is it still a goal (to re-join Red Bull)? said Ricciardo. “Of course. But where I sit right now, I don’t want to talk about it because I know I have to do better.

“I am also aware that if I start talking about that, all the responses, will be like, ‘mate, focus on where you are’, which is the truth.

“And look, can anything happen in F1? Yes. But my prediction is that Max stays (at Red Bull).”

Second practice for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix proved to be a damp squib as McLaren’s Oscar Piastri set the fastest time on a weather-affected session.

Local favourite Yuki Tsunoda and his RB team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were the only drivers to set lap times early on in changeable conditions, but set their times on the intermediate tyre.

The hour-long session began in rain and, although it later stopped, the track was not deemed sufficiently dry enough for most teams to send out their cars.

Piastri was one of them and his time of one minute 34.725 seconds proved fast enough to top the timesheets, with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari the only others to set representative times.

Earlier, Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice as Willams endured another Friday to forget.

Reigning champion Verstappen retired in Melbourne a fortnight ago but was back at it here, his time of one minute 20.056 seconds was enough to see him go quickest at Suzuka, with team-mate Sergio Perez his closest challenger 0.181 seconds back.

A red flag halfway through the session stopped running for 11 minutes as Logan Sargeant crashed off at turn two – further adding to the Williams woes.

Sargeant sat out the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago as team-mate Alex Albon took his car after destroying his own in a practice crash and the team currently have no spare chassis.

Williams team principal James Vowles confirmed the car had suffered “extensive” damage and Sargeant was forced to sit out of second practice – although the lack of running meant there was little that would have been gained from taking part.

“It is pretty significant (damage). So the chassis is OK, fortunately, but I would say pretty much everything else isn’t – so the suspension around, the gearbox is cracked, big damage.

“At the top of the brow of the hill there, he struggled to see where his positioning was on track. So it fundamentally looks like he didn’t quite realise where he was with where the grass was on the outside and put a wheel on the grass.”

Albon went 12th fastest after the action restarted, while Verstappen assumed his usual position as the car to beat.

Carlos Sainz, who won in Australia last time out, was third-fastest for Ferrari ahead of the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Hamilton, while the second Ferrari of Leclerc was sixth.

Daniel Ricciardo was the surprise name at the top of the time sheet in Formula One’s first practice session of the new season in Bahrain.

The Australian – driving for the newly rebranded RB team – saw off Lando Norris by just 0.032 seconds, with Oscar Piastri third in the other McLaren.

Max Verstappen, who complained about the handling of his Red Bull throughout the one-hour practice session, finished sixth, with George Russell seventh and Lewis Hamilton ninth for Mercedes.

Verstappen heads into the curtain raiser here in the Gulf kingdom as the favourite to claim a fourth consecutive world championship.

But the Dutch driver appeared unsettled in the opening running at a gusty Sakhir circuit.

“Everything is s***,” he yelled over the radio. “Like miles off.”

Ricciardo was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2022, but was handed a lifeline by Red Bull’s junior team midway through last season.

And although times in testing have to be treated with caution as the teams trial varying fuel loads – indeed Ricciardo set his speediest lap on the softest tyre compound – RB could prove a surprise package. Ricciardo’s team-mate Yuki Tsunoda finished fourth, three tenths back.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso took fifth spot and was the first of the drivers not to use the soft compound. Verstappen, Russell, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – who finished eighth – and Hamilton also did not post a lap on the speediest rubber.

Hamilton finished four tenths off Ricciardo, but the Mercedes camp are quietly optimistic that they could have the speed to perform at the sharp end.

At the other end of the grid, Alpine and Haas propped up the order with Nico Hulkenberg last of the 20 runners, five seconds off the pace.

The second practice session of the day takes place at 6pm local time (3pm GMT) and is more representative of the conditions the drivers will face in Friday’s qualifying and Saturday’s race.

Christian Horner has left the door ajar for Daniel Ricciardo to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull next season following the Mexican’s retirement at his home grand prix.

Perez’s race lasted just 14 seconds after he crashed into Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the opening bend.

The 33-year-old had to watch Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen romp to a record 16th win of the season, while Ricciardo – who has already stated his desire to return to Red Bull – out-performed his modest AlphaTauri machinery to finish seventh after qualifying fourth.

Although Horner said it is Red Bull’s “intention” to honour Perez’s contract for 2024, he refused to confirm that the Mexican would remain with the world champions beyond this term.

Perhaps tellingly, he was also effusive in his praise for Ricciardo, lauding the Australian’s display in just his fourth comeback race as “remarkable”. It is possible that the two drivers could trade seats in 2024.

“Sergio has an agreement with us for next year and our intention is for him to be in the car in 2024,” said Horner.

“We will give him all the support he needs to ensure he finishes second in the championship.

“It was great to see Daniel perform so well and it endorses our decision to bring him back. I thought he was outstanding this weekend and if it was not for the red flag, he would have finished further up the order.

“It was a remarkable performance and he is back to his old self. He is relaxed and confident.”

Perez went for glory at the opening corner – perhaps sensing this could be his final opportunity to win on home soil – but he misjudged the move and collided with Leclerc.

Lewis Hamilton took second to reduce the deficit to Perez to just 20 points in the race for runner-up in the championship.

“There is no prerequisite that if he doesn’t finish second, he is out of the team,” added Horner. “It is not as binary as that. You have to look at the circumstances.

“It was a tough moment for him in front of his home crowd and he was very emotional, but he wouldn’t be a racing driver if he didn’t go for the lead at his home race. It is a big loss for him in a car that was capable of being on the podium.

“He is a tough operator and that is why he is in the car, because mentally he has always been able to bounce back. He will brush himself down and turn it into motivation. He has the full support of the team.”


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Ricciardo won seven times for Red Bull before taking the surprise decision to move to Renault in 2019. He subsequently joined McLaren, but endured two poor years.

Ricciardo’s career looked to be over when he was dumped by the British team at the end of last season. But the 34-year-old has performed admirably – despite being absent for five races with a broken wrist – since being handed a second chance with Red Bull’s junior team. Indeed, his seventh place in Mexico was AlphaTauri’s best result of the year.

Ricciardo will be back in action at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix – the first of three concluding rounds this season.

Daniel Ricciardo is “ready to go” as he prepares to return from injury for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Australian has missed the past five races after he broke his left hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25.

Ricciardo, who took part in a Red Bull demonstration run in Nashville last weekend, will be back in his AlphaTauri cockpit for practice at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Friday.

New Zealander Liam Lawson, who has impressed as Ricciardo’s stand-in, will make way.

He said: “It’s good to be back! My hand is much better and the simulator was a useful way of assessing it.

“I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go.

“My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.

“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit pause again, but actually, the time without racing went quite quickly.”


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Ricciardo was due to take part in only his third comeback race when he crashed in Zandvoort. He was immediately taken to the medical centre before he was transported to a nearby hospital with his left arm in a sling.

A subsequent X-ray confirmed Ricciardo had sustained a break to the metacarpal on his left hand.

Ricciardo was ruled out of the race in Holland and the following rounds in Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.

Ricciardo was handed a second chance by Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri following his dismissal by McLaren at the end of last season.

Despite his injury, AlphaTauri announced last month that they have retained the eight-time grand prix winner winner for 2024 alongside Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

Daniel Ricciardo will return from injury for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Australian has missed the past five races after he broke his left hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25.

However, the PA news agency has been told that Ricciardo, who took part in a Red Bull demonstration run in Nashville last weekend, will be back in his AlphaTauri cockpit for practice at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Friday.

New Zealander Liam Lawson, who has impressed as Ricciardo’s stand-in, will make way.

Ricciardo was due to take part in only his third comeback race when he crashed in Zandvoort.

He was immediately taken to the medical centre before he was transported to a nearby hospital with his left arm in a sling.

A subsequent X-ray confirmed Ricciardo had sustained a break to the metacarpal on his left hand.

Ricciardo was ruled out of the race in Holland and the following rounds in Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.

Ricciardo was handed a second chance by Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri following his dismissal by McLaren at the end of last season.

Despite his injury, AlphaTauri announced last month that they have retained the eight-time grand prix winner winner for 2024 alongside Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

Daniel Ricciardo has said he needed to fall back in love with Formula One before taking the opportunity to return to racing with AlphaTauri.

The eight-time grand prix winner has not driven in anger since he was axed by McLaren at the end of last season, but will make a surprise return to the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix next week after replacing Nyck De Vries at Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri.

The 34-year-old Australian’s career looked to be all but over after he was deemed surplus to requirements by McLaren following two underwhelming seasons with the British team.

Ricciardo did return to Red Bull as a reserve driver, but said he needed the enforced time off to ask himself if he really did want to return to racing.

“Falling out of love with it took a hit on my confidence and of course if you’re competing in a sport where you’re trying to be the best at something, the best in the world at something, obviously you need full confidence and belief,” Ricciardo said in an interview on F1’s YouTube channel.

“When that starts to diminish a bit, your enjoyment drops a bit as well. There’s a lot of factors. Getting back to Red Bull, just the reception I had walking back into that team was in a positive way a little bit overwhelming.

“Getting back on the sim, I was a bit unsure how it was going to go, if the car would feel like it used to, if I was going to be like – for the lack of better words – ‘the old me’.

“But once I’d done a few sim sessions and started feeling like myself again it brought me back to normal Daniel where I was falling back in love and ready to go again.”

Ricciardo said attending the Super Bowl in Arizona in February reminded him of the buzz of a competitive environment, while being at his home grand prix in Melbourne and then the Monaco race helped him get the Formula One bug back.

“I’ve enjoyed these six months off and it was really good for me but the more races I started to attend, the more sims I’ve started to do, I was getting the bug back. And then jumping in the car a few days ago I thought, ‘Oh yeah’. It all felt very normal, very familiar…

“I didn’t really need to think too much about (accepting the call to return). I think being back in this family, I’m kind of going through it all again…there was no question I was going to say yes.”

Ricciardo said joining AlphaTauri for the rest of the season was like going “full circle” given he raced the team, then known as Toro Rosso, in 2012 and 2013, after starting his F1 career with HRT Racing in 2011.

AlphaTauri sit last in the constructor’s championship after the opening 10 races of the season and Ricciardo is under no illusions that he will be racing a top-end car any time soon.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s a challenge for sure to jump in and try to hit the ground running. But also I guess I feel like I’ve been through a lot in the last few years where I’m not really scared of anything that’s going to be thrown my way – so I actually really do like the challenge.

“It will be a challenge but I don’t know if I’d have it any other way.”

Ralf Schumacher has told Max Verstappen to either leave Formula 1 or accept the new Sprint Race weekend format, which will debut at the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The 'Sprint Shootout' gets introduced this weekend and will set the grid for Saturday's Sprint Race, which means the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix is now determined by Friday's qualifying. 

It leaves just one free practice session in Baku with FP2 and 3 being replaced, and is the first of six Sprint Race weekends in 2023 after only hosting three in 2021 and 2022.

This comes after Verstappen issued a 'quit threat' if F1 continues to make race weekend changes, but Schumacher believes the championship will thrive either way. 

"The past, the present and the future have shown or will show that Formula 1 is much bigger than any individual," he told Sky Sports Germany.

"Bernie Ecclestone is also gone, and without him Formula 1 wouldn't exist - and now it’s more successful than ever.

"So Verstappen should either pack his things and leave, or just accept it as it is. I understand his attitude because there are a lot of risks.

"But still, he gets paid to do it. If he wants to go, then he has to go. Formula 1 will not perish, as much I love him."

Guenther Steiner has hailed the changes saying it is what fans want, and believes F1 could eventually keep adding the format to more race weekends. 

"I don't know if we will do it every race weekend," the Haas team principal told Reuters. "Maybe do a few more or maybe do half of the calendar - the F1 promoter will know what to do.

"At the moment, there is more demand for races [than slots available] so how can you get more races in, more competition, more racing if we cannot do more than 24 events? So just make the event double count."

Will Baku finally have a repeat winner?

In six previous races at Baku, there has been a different winner each time. Nico Rosberg won its inaugural Grand Prix in 2016, before Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez and defending winner Verstappen all stood on the top step.

With two of that six no longer in F1 and Bottas now in an Alfa Romeo, chances are only three of them are in with a shot of victory. However, given Red Bull have dominated the opening three races to this season, they will be odds-on favourite to win again on Sunday.

To many, the battle will be between Perez and Verstappen with the double world champion currently 15 points ahead of his team-mate in the standings. If Red Bull wins again, then that will extend Hamilton’s winless run to 27 - his worst in F1 - after Mercedes have struggled since the start of 2022.

However, Fernando Alonso has stood on the podium in each race this season. Therefore, should Red Bull encounter any problems then maybe the Aston Martin driver will extend Baku's record. 

Charles Leclerc faces worst ever start to F1 season

Charles Leclerc's retirement in Australia means he is the first Ferrari driver since Felipe Massa in 2009 to have two DNFs in the opening three races of a season. For the other round, Saudi Arabia, he only finished seventh which leaves Leclerc 10th in the championship on six points.

It is a stark contrast to this time 12 months ago, where the Ferrari driver was leading the championship by 34 points after winning two of the opening three races. Should he fail to score a point in Baku then that will make it Leclerc's worst start to an F1 season, despite driving for Alfa Romeo in his debut year.

Championship Standings


Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 69Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 54Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) 45Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 38Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) 20


Red Bull 123Aston Martin 65Mercedes 56Ferrari 26McLaren 12 

Daniel Ricciardo believes he will return to the Formula One grid for the 2024 season after a year-long absence.

The Australian departed McLaren at the end of the 2022 campaign and did not take a seat on the grid for 2023, instead returning to Red Bull in a reserve driver capacity.

Just three months into his reduced role, which has allowed far more free time, Ricciardo feels he has got what he wanted out of the break and is now seeking a full-time return to F1.

While it is not yet known what opportunities may emerge next year, Ricciardo is expecting to be back

"The signs are pointing towards getting back on the grid. I feel like that's where I'm tracking in my head and a few of the habits that I'm having or doing is pointing towards that," he told reporters ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

"It's only been a few months [out of F1] but I think some itches have been scratched, so to speak. I've actually weirdly found that the days that I've had no schedule are the days when I've actually done training, and I've done things like I would before.

"So I don't know, being my own boss, writing my own schedule has actually brought out a lot of the things in me. When I thought I might just sit on the couch and watch movies all day and eat junk food, I'm just not. That's not me.

"So even these things have made me realise how much I do care about it."

However, Ricciardo will not change the stance he had ahead of the current season and will only accept a seat with a team capable of fighting at the front end of the grid.

"I still am at a point where it's not at any cost, it's not just to be back on the grid," he added.

"A lot of the reason for taking this year off was that I didn't want to just jump back into a car, any car just to be one of the F1 drivers. And I still don't see myself starting from scratch and rebuilding a career from ground zero and going at it for another decade.

"I appreciate I might not have every opportunity under the sun, but I want to win. I want to be back with a top team and obviously a team where I have my confidence back and my mojo.

"I think also that's where, maybe when I look back that's a weakness of mine, but in a way it's a strength as I feel better at the front of the grid. I feel like I perform in those situations with a bit more pressure and a bit more emphasis on a podium.

"So, to go back and try to put myself in just any seat or something that's fighting at best for a top-10 finish, I don't think that's going to bring the best out of me. So yeah, I see myself, at least in my head, wanting to go back on the grid, but there's still some terms and conditions, so to speak."

Mick Schumacher has joined Mercedes to become the Formula One team's reserve driver.

The son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, Schumacher lost his 2023 seat with Haas to Nico Hulkenberg after finishing 16th in the 2022 driver standings.

Mercedes have recruited the 23-year-old to be the back-up for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Schumacher's legendary father spent three years with the Brackley-based team during his illustrious F1 career.

Daniel Ricciardo had been linked with the position, but Red Bull confirmed he was returning to the team as their third driver having left for Renault at the end of the 2018 season.

Nyck de Vries, who was Mercedes' reserve driver last season, will drive full-time for AlphaTauri in 2023.

Schumacher said: "I am thrilled to be part of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team as their reserve driver for 2023.

"I am committed to give it my all to contribute to their performance in this very competitive and professional environment.

"I take this as a new start, and I am just excited and grateful to Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal and CEO] and everybody involved for putting their trust in me.

"F1 is such a fascinating world, and you never stop learning, so I look forward to absorbing more knowledge and putting in all my efforts for the benefit of the Mercedes team."

Wolff said: "Mick is a talented young driver and we’re delighted to have him join the Team.

"He is a hard worker, has a calm and methodical approach and is still hungry to learn and improve as a driver. These are all important qualities.

"We also know that with two years of experience racing in Formula One under his belt, he will be ready to step into the car at short notice to replace either Lewis or George, should that need arise."

Red Bull have announced the return of Daniel Ricciardo, who will be their third driver for the 2023 season.

The Australian left the grid following his exit from McLaren, where he completed his final race in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, and it was widely expected that he would be returning to Red Bull, who he left in 2018.

Ricciardo had a stint with Renault before moving to McLaren, with spells at both teams being disappointing ones, and it was announced earlier this year he would be leaving the latter – Oscar Piastri being his replacement on the grid.

The 33-year-old did not turn his back on Formula One, however, and could return to the grid with a full-time seat in the future, though previously stated he felt the best approach could be as a reserve driver.

That move has now come with Red Bull, where he will be an understudy to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in 2023 – filling in should either of the pair be unable to race, as well as competing in practice sessions.

"The smile says it all, I'm truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their Third Driver in 2023," Ricciardo said.

"I already have so many fond memories of my time here, but the welcome from Christian [Horner], Dr [Helmut] Marko and the entire team is something I'm sincerely appreciative of.

"For me personally, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely appealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refocus.

"I can't wait to be with the team and support with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go!"

The 2023 Formula One season will begin on March 5 in Bahrain, the start of a record-breaking 24 races across the course of the campaign.

Daniel Ricciardo has explained his decision not to pursue a race seat in Formula One for 2023, as he closes in on a non-racing role with Red Bull.

The Australian is poised to rejoin the team he left in 2018 in a position that may include reserve, promotional and simulator duties, with Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix being his last with McLaren.

Although not confirmed, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has stated that Ricciardo will be joining the team, with Christian Horner welcoming the potential return of the driver on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

A non-racing role with Red Bull does not necessarily mean Ricciardo's time on the F1 grid is over, though he feels it was the right move in order to take a break from competition.

"I knew that I wanted some time off next year from a race seat and just from competition," he told

"It's obviously been pretty tiring the last couple of years with the struggles, so it was pretty clear to me shortly after the summer break that that was what I wanted, and what was going to be best for me.

"So then it was: 'Okay. What's the next best thing?' And the more I thought about it, to obviously be involved to some degree with a top team, that was obviously the preference.

"But it's not done. So that's why I haven't come out and confirmed it, because that's still the truth: it's not done. But I can obviously look you in the eye now and say it's the most likely option at this stage."

Ricciardo also feels this is the right move to assess where he wants to go long-term, giving him the ability to decide without affecting his week-to-week performances on the grid.

"Honestly, I think that's also in a way the beauty with this," he said. "It'll either fuel the fire and make me hungry and more motivated than ever, or it will actually be like 'oh, this is the right thing for you', and in that case then I must be really happy.

"Because as much as you go through highs and lows of racing, I'm still very happy with life, and am privileged to live a good one. So if next year I'm not interested in coming back, then I must be doing some really cool s***."

Helmut Marko says Daniel Ricciardo will be Red Bull's third driver in the 2023 Formula One season.

Ricciardo is without a seat on the grid next year after his McLaren contract was terminated 12 months before it was due to end.

The Australian paid the price for a disappointing season in which he has finished in the top 10 just six times, sitting 12th in the driver standings.

Ricciardo had stated that spending time away from F1 could be a "blessing in disguise", but Red Bull advisor Marko revealed he will have a part to play after all.

Marko told Sky Germany ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: "Ricciardo will be our third driver.

"We have so many sponsors, we have to do show runs and the like, so of course he's one of the most high profile and best suited."

Ricciardo spent five seasons with Red Bull before joining Renault for the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

World champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will remain Red Bull team-mates for the 2023 season.

Daniel Ricciardo believes spending time away from Formula One could act as a "blessing in disguise" after seeing his chances of staying on the grid next year diminish.

Since McLaren announced an early termination of Ricciardo's contract in August, the Australian has seen several vacant seats filled ahead of next season. 

Only Haas now have an empty seat on the grid for 2023, but Ricciardo is not interested in joining the team.

Ricciardo offered a reminder of his quality when he overcame a 10-second penalty to finish seventh at Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, and believes the opportunity to reflect on his achievements may allow him to return stronger in 2024.

Looking ahead to the 2023 campaign when speaking to Sky Sports, Ricciardo acknowledged: "I can confidently say I won't be on the grid, behind a wheel. 

"But I still want to be in the sport, I want to be working with a team, still with the ambition to be back on the grid in 2024.

"I feel like a bit of time away from a race seat will actually do me good, and then [I'll] try to rebuild something for 2024.

"The way the seasons are, it's pretty relentless, you don't really get a chance to rebuild.

"Everyone's different, but I truly believe that will be, in a way, a blessing in disguise for me. By doing less, I'll achieve more."

Ricciardo has been linked with a reserve role at Mercedes since conceding a seat was unlikely for next year, but the Silver Arrows' team principal Toto Wolff was giving nothing away when asked about a potential move.

"We very much like him; he's a great character," Wolff said. "But we are not in a position yet to decide who is going to do reserve and be third driver."

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