Johnny Herbert has suggested Red Bull have made the wrong choice to keep Daniel Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri car and not promote Liam Lawson.
The Kiwi has been filling in for his Australasian compatriot after Ricciardo broke his hand during free practice in Zandvoort and so far, Lawson has proved more than up to the task.
With his first points score in Singapore, Lawson has one more race to show what he can do before moving back to his reserve role.
Johnny Herbert backs Liam Lawson over Daniel Ricciardo for AlphaTauri seat.
Despite Lawson’s performances, Red Bull have opted to play it safe and give the experienced Ricciardo another year while Lawson resumes his role as reserve driver for both the main team and AlphaTauri.
Ricciardo will partner Yuki Tsundoa in the team for 2024 and with just the Williams seat still to be decided it looks as if Lawson will be waiting another year at least for his F1 dream to come true.
Herbert, a man who raced 160 times over an 11-year career, believes Red Bull made the wrong choice and should have gone with the “future” in Lawson.
“Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda has done a good job too – but I feel Liam already has taken control at AlphaTauri. For me, he earned a seat for 2024,” Herbert wrote in Motor Sport Magazine.
“I don’t agree with the decision of AlphaTauri to bring Daniel Ricciardo back for next year. Is he the future? No, Liam is the future.
“I understand that Daniel didn’t get a proper go at it before breaking his [hand] at Zandvoort, but in the time he had on his return there was no ‘wow factor.’
“I’d say there has been with Liam. He has something that looks pretty special.
“I think it should have been a Lawson/Tsunoda line-up at AlphaTauri next year. After all, it’s a junior team that exists to [nurture] young talent.”
As for Lawson’s performances so far, what has impressed Herbert the most is the New Zealander’s ability to jump in the car and go.
“I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from Liam Lawson because in a very short space of time, he has been able to adjust to the bubble of Formula 1,” the former Sky Sports F1 pundit said.
“What I like is that ability to jump in and do the job straight away. It’s actually a rare thing when someone gets a hold of a car and does what we actually expect of them.
“Lawson has shown speed when there’s pressure because he’s been racing to prove he’s worthy of keeping the drive. He hasn’t had the luxury of time to settle in.
“In Singapore, at what most drivers say is the most difficult track on the calendar both physically and mentally, he was very impressive and scored his first points in his third grand prix.”