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Christian Horner

Horner explains Red Bull junior snub

Questions have been asked over the validity of the programme after Ricciardo was announced as de Vries' replacement.

To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has insisted it would have been "unfair" to select Liam Lawson as Nyck de Vries' replacement at AlphaTauri for the remainder of the season.

The New Zealander has impressed since switching from F2 to Japan's Super Formula, securing three wins from six races to sit a point behind the championship leader with three events to go.

Despite his form, 34-year-old Daniel Ricciardo was selected to replace de Vries for the remainder of the F1 season, casting doubts over the future of the Red Bull junior programme.

Addressing Lawson's snub, Horner told the F1 Nation podcast: "Liam's doing a great job out in Japan.

"We felt it was perhaps unfair to throw him into a situation where we put him straight into a car like that.

"So I think it made logical sense, subject to the tests going ok, for Daniel to step up into that cockpit.

"By lap seven of the test, he had already confirmed that."

Ricciardo 'baptism of fire'

Ricciardo makes his return to F1 having been dropped by McLaren at the end of last season, with only last week's Pirelli tyre test to show for on-track experience this term.

Dismissing concerns over race fitness, Horner said: "He was in pretty decent shape, we put him through pretty much 100 laps around Silverstone.

"It was a baptism of fire. He wasn't asking for the pads on the headrest.

"He has kept himself in pretty good shape. He is naturally pretty athletic, he has kept his training to a standard.

"It is going to be a tough one for him in Hungary, which is probably one of the hardest on the calendar, but I am sure he is in good enough shape."

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