Daniel Ricciardo should hold all the aces. Instead, he's staring at a joker. And it's not at all funny.
Ricciardo is matching the top dogs at Mercedes and Ferrari for victories this season, lies third in the 2018 drivers' championship and drew comparisons to Michael Schumacher after winning in Monaco last weekend. His value to Red Bull is rammed home by team-mate Max Verstappen having one podium and four costly crashes this season. Ricciardo is the best driver on the Formula 1 grid yet to win a world title.
The prospect of a fat pay-rise if he signs a new Red Bull deal is very real, while another carrot dangles in the form of Mercedes and Ferrari being yet to firm up their 2019 driver line-ups. He should have the pick of the best F1 seats for next season, but in reality he has very little choice at all.