Hamilton says it’s “unlikely” Ricciardo will join Mercedes

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton doubts Daniel Ricciardo is in the frame for a drive at Mercedes despite his strong start to the championship.

The Monaco Grand Prix winner does not have a contract for the 2019 F1 season and Mercedes are yet to re-sign either Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas for next year.

After taking his second win Monaco yesterday Ricciardo is now third in the championship, 38 points behind Hamilton. Hamilton said Ricciardo is “doing a solid, solid job” so far this season and believes his rival is looking for a more lucrative contract at Red Bull compared to team mate Max Verstappen.

“[Ricciardo’s] got a team mate that is, from what I hear, making a lot more money than him,” said Hamilton. “Yet he’s more consistent, keeping the car together a lot more and more often than not pulling through.

“It’s important in the team to always feel your value, your worth, your contribution to it. I would imagine his future is there, but he’s one of the top drivers so I’m sure there’ll be options for him.”

Red Bull brought Ricciardo into F1 via their junior team. He is believed to be earning considerably less money than other front-running drivers, including Verstappen, who Red Bull moved quickly to sign amid interest from rival teams in 2014.

However despite Ricciardo’s form Hamilton suspects he may not get the chance to join either of Red Bull’s two main rivals.

“There’s obviously, in the top areas, only Ferrari and Mercedes that he could ever consider. But currently here that’s unlikely. I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“And then if you look at Ferrari I image Kimi [Raikkonen’s] going to want to continue. I mean why not, he’s driving really well this year, he doesn’t seem to be ageing, so I’m sure he will go a little bit longer.”

Red Bull’s improved form this year could make them a more appealing choice for Ricciardo, said Hamilton.

“At the moment he is pretty much the lead driver in that team so it’s not a bad place to be.

“At some stage if Red Bull get an engine they’re going to be even closer in the mix with us. And there’s still a long way to go, they could win many more races. I think he’s just got to keep his head down, keep doing what he’s doing.

“But he should definitely have a contract on the table and have his options ready.”

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  • 112 comments on “Hamilton says it’s “unlikely” Ricciardo will join Mercedes”

    1. My interpretation of that is “I don’t want him here, he may beat me!”

      I think Dan can go up against anyone on the grid and do well- the only two I think can match or beat him are Max or Alonso. All else I think he has covered, Lewis included (personal opinion).

      I don’t like these veto’s drivers have- seems both Lewis and Seb had one on Max, not good for the sport, you want to see the best against the best in the same car.

      1. Hamilton does not have a veto..

        Max or Alonso are the only ones who could beat him…

        Man stop it!

        1. At the end of the day Dan drove a unreilable car to victory and that is the issue at RB , why would he resign?

      2. Everything the man stated is fact yet you go into his mind to interpret. What type of vision do you have to see through his mind?

        1. FreddyVictor
          28th May 2018, 15:58

          LH says: ‘doubts Daniel Ricciardo is in the frame for a drive at Mercedes’
          pking008 (@pking008) writes: ‘Everything the man stated is fact’
          Really ? sounds very much like speculation to me
          Would love to see RIC at Merc next year, his personality would easily outshine his teammate’s
          IMO some big names should be concerned about their seats for next year ….

      3. @garns Keep on dreaming. Hamilton has no veto, Alonso and Vettel as them. Alonso is overrated, besides Hamilton he never had a strong teammate again but only teammates that needed to move over or back and you think he’s a match for Ricciardo, you clearly don’t know what you are talking about.

        1. @noname Vettel doesn’t have it either at least as far as he’s concerned (he denied having a veto in the Wednesday press conference for the last race).

          1. @jerejj

            You can’t take Vettel seriously on that statement. Of course he’s going to say he doesn’t have an option to decide that 2nd seat. What we do know for sure is that he’s been trying his best to keep Kimi within the team… probably because he isn’t fast enough to trouble Vettel.. and probably because he’ll bend over backwards to aid Vettel’s title hopes.

            As long as Ferrari are happy with Vettel, they’ll give him a good choice in keeping anyone in that 2nd seat. That has always been the Ferrari way. If Vettel fails to deliver though… then you might see a more competitive driver in that 2nd seat.

            1. Hamilton started this nonsense of Vettel having a veto, but here you are actually saying Vettel is lying.

              Have you seen the contract to say such a thing?

          2. Vettel clearly does have a Veto. All Ferrari number 1 driver has them starting with Schumacher, Alonso and now Vettel. The only one that didnt have them and didnt care was Kimi. If you think Vettel has no say in who drive next to him them you have another think coming.

            1. The new age were opinion is stated as FACT.

        2. Hamilton clearly does have veto power.
          He stated publicly Alonso would never be his teammate at Mercedes while at the same time claiming he didn’t have a say as to who his teammate would be and would welcome all challengers. Hypocrite.
          And you think with a new contract in the works he won’t again stipulate he has a say in who is teammate will be? Dream on.
          Hamilton has been fortunate to have the best car and good but not great teammates for the past 5 years and that’s the way he wants it to stay which is understandable.
          But then he whines that Vettel doesn’t want him at Ferrari but would do the same to him if Vettel wanted in at Merc.
          Ferrari never desired Hamilton in the first place or they would have made it public as they did with Alonso and Vettel.

          1. Daves, if the talk in the paddock is correct, then the reason why Hamilton said that is because McLaren had already made it clear to the rest of the paddock (and to Alonso’s management as well) that Alonso’s contract is not up for negotiation at any price.

          2. “Hamilton clearly does have veto power.
            He stated publicly Alonso would never be his teammate at Mercedes”

            I believe you’ll find that Dr Z still hasn’t gotten over that $100m fine from 07.

            1. Not sure why you bring Merc into it. Alonso did nothing to them.
              McLaren were the cheaters – no surprise there with Dennis at the helm.
              They cheated, got caught, paid a heavy price and rightfully so.
              They used Alonso as a scapegoat.
              The fact Dennis brought Alonso back is proof of that.

            2. @daves
              Mercedes had part ownership of McLaren during the time when Alonso cost them $100 Million and guess who footed most od the bill? They will never hire him.

            3. @don
              And McLaren would never hire him…..oh wait, they did hire him.

          3. @Dave how long have you been watching F1? Once Ferrari picks a Number 1 driver, that driver has a huge say on who the driver that sits in the other car is. That is the Ferrari ethos. Ferrari don’t care for the WCC they only want the WDC for some reasons unlike a tem like Mercedes for example. So stating that Lewis clearly has a veto is complete BS.

            In general Mercedes don’t care which of their driver wins the WDC. We saw it with Rosberg. If Hamilton was the number 1 driver and they wanted him to win in 2016 like Redbull engineered Vettel to his first title despite Mark Webber leading the championship up to that stage, they would have found a way to sabotaged Rosberg and handed the WDC to Hamilton in 2016 but as we know, the team tried to prevent Hamilton from doing anything to make him win it. There’s your evidence.

            1. In general Mercedes don’t care which of their driver wins the WDC. We saw it with Rosberg. (..) the team tried to prevent Hamilton from doing anything to make him win it – You’re contradicting yourself. Stop it already.

            2. @pking008
              Since 1992 – probably much longer than you, heh?

              Agree 100% with your Ferrari assessment. Don’t understand why you follow that up stating Hamilton cleary has no veto power???

              Then you come up with the Hamilton lover’s BS excuse that Merc sabotaged him so ROS would win a WDC.
              Several reasons HAM lost the WDC to ROS. Firstly, he had several poor starts no doubt do to a lack of practice.

              Secondly, he got a lead and let up, taking it for granted it would be a repeat of previous seasons (ROS would fizzle). While HAM was out partying, ROS was 100% focused on winning to the point he was sleeping at the tracks. Hamilton lost because he wasn’t the best driver over the course of the season. Deal with it!!

              Your so called “evidence” is wishful thinking. Hamilton does have veto power. No different than Ferrari.

        3. And what great teammates did HAM have besides ALO?! Kovalainen, Button, Rosberg?!? ROS was the best of all 3, RIC being at least as good as ROS. So, I agree with Garns, there’s some fear of RIC, no doubt. Just look at him, man, he’s wearing 2 caps on his head!!! That’s big MONEY on the bank! Mercedes it’s at his feet and you must be really naive or a fanatic to believe HAM, VET, ALO has no absolutely no power when it comes to deciding who’s gonna occupy the 2nd seat. Yesteday we got the ultimate proof that big teams have no.2 teams too, not only no.2 drivers! Just watch how that Force India let HAM get ahead although they were fighting for the place and it was Monaco, so big chances to finish ahead… not even lapped cars slow down that much when they’re about to be lapped!

          1. @mg1982 Hamilton’s teammates where WDC’s how many of Alonso were WDC’s ?. So what if Mercedes demanded Ocon to move over ?, Ferrari did the same for Alonso in Malaysia 2012 telling Perez to back off.

            1. Ferrari did the same for Alonso in Malaysia 2012 telling Perez to back off.

              @noname Is there proof or that or is it proven in your head only?

          2. @mg1982 When it suits you, Button Rosberg are top driver but when it comes to Hamilton beating them, your argument changes to they being ordinary drivers. Make your mind up what they are.

            Hamilton beat 3 WDCs including Alonso. What more do you want the man to do to convince you?

            1. @ pking008: sorry, I think you’ve mistaken me for somebody else. I always said that Button is a 2nd tier driver, while ROS is in-between tier1 (HAM, VET, ALO etc) and tier2 (BUT, MAS, BAR etc). Also, I always said that, in my opinion, Bottas is tier2 material.

            2. @pking008 your argument works both ways.

          3. @mg1982

            28th May 2018, 15:03

            And what great teammates did HAM have besides ALO?! Kovalainen, Button, Rosberg?!? ROS was the best of all 3, RIC being at least as good as ROS

            You’re dreaming if you think Rosberg was better than Button! A better qualifier for sure, but a better racer – dream on! Rosberg had terrible race craft and couldn’t shine Buttons boots in that department!

            Danny Ric is better than all of them! Hamilton included!

        4. How is alonso overrated?

        5. @noname

          Alonso is overrated, besides Hamilton he never had a strong teammate again but only teammates that needed to move over or back

          I guess we’ll just forget about Button – who beat them both I might add…

        6. Sorry, but you, @noname, have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Of course, you’re allowed to have your own opinions, however silly they may be.

          There. How does it feel to have done to you what you did to @garns?

        7. Considering alonso is currently challenging verstappen in the WDC with a car 1,5 sec off the pace and 1 more mechanical failure, he’d currently destroy him in the same car, like ricciardo is doing THIS YEAR, so I don’t see why it’s so hard to imagine alonso beating ricciardo.

        8. I beleive Ric could beat Ham and Seb (as he has done before with the later) in a team on a level playing field..l think both of them are quite nervous about him being out of contract.
          RIC’s calmness on the radio” under pressure” has been there since day one in F1.
          Even when they forgot his tyres a few years back he told the team “to save the apology” what team wouldnt want this guy and his talent with all the drama queens on the grid..

      4. @garns Having a veto at a team (which I really believe no driver has, they will be consulted sure, but a real veto, I don’t believe it) would indicate your value within the team. Hence men like Vettel and Hamilton should be able to have one without much critique. The entire teamgame played off track is something one must excel at in order to become a legend of the sport, just being super fast doesn’t cut it.

        1. @flatsix I’d also like to believe that no team would have one of it’s drivers dictate who the other driver should be. But of course when you have a team like Ferrari who are known to blatantly and admittedly go the one-rooster route, one can reasonably suspect it is at least as you say at Ferrari…that even if SV doesn’t have a say, they will at a minimum consult with him.

          I’m less sure that it is the same at Mercedes, strictly based on all the things TW said during the LH/NR rivalry, hinting that that kind of a rivalry is great for the sport and is what the fans deserve, in spite of some headaches for Mercedes.

          1. As of yesterday, there’s no doubt anymore there’re NO.2 TEAMS too in F1!! Just (re)watch how that Force India let HAM get ahead in order not to lose time and risk losing P3 to RAI. They were “battling” for position, then given it’s Monaco, it’s highly likely that Force India would have kept HAM behind. It was a disgrace and it’s quite weird how such stuff it’s permitted by the stewards. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a driver/team being so eager to give away a P5 (= points = money) to some other driver/team. And they call this competition… Dunno, Ferrari may have been the team who started these “maneouvers”, but other teams obviously took them to another level.

        2. Mickey's Miniature Grandpa
          28th May 2018, 15:01

          Unfounded, ill-informed claims that a driver has a veto over who his team-mate will be are just another tool in the arsenal of tiresome, small-minded partisans who seek to justify liking the driver/s they like and disliking the driver/s they dislike by making up convenient “facts”.

        3. @flatsix
          Well we don’t know if they do or not, but when Max signed again at Reb Bull last year I got the feeling they went to both Ferrari and Mercedes for a seat and were told no. Half way through the year Jos was saying they aren’t happy due to unreliability next thing he signed a new contract- but you make a good point, having a veto shows a drivers worth to the team.

      5. My interpretation of your post is no matter what Hamilton says, you’ll find a way to make it negative.

    2. Being paid relatively less is, by Daniel’s own admission, not an issue for him. Arguably the money is more important to Lewis than Daniel, based on their attitudes and lifestyles. But remember we are talking salaries in the Millions plus enorsements etc, which makes Ricciado easily in the top three earners amongst Australian elite athletes, and that is his current place new contract notwithstanding.

      What Ric wants is a car to win, regardless of team mate or pay. That’s my take on it.

      I found Horner’s comment on Channel 4 after the race intriguing. He said he wasn’t sure if Danny’s price tag had gone up or down after winning this race. Ambiguous. Thoughts as to the meaning anybody?

      1. What Ric wants is a car to win, regardless of team mate or pay. That’s my take on it.

        +1 to this, I always get the impression he wants to make a mark via a championship.

        1. Arguably the money is more important to Lewis than Daniel, based on their attitudes and lifestyles

          I don’t know where you guys draw these conclusions from what Lewis said. After the disrespect from Redbull threw in Daniel face by signing Vestappen for close to 30 millions when bonuses are included why Daniel is earning a paltry salary from Redbull and Dr Marko and Horner shouting how they want to build the team around Vestappen, I will be the first one to support Ricciardo now giving Redbull the middle finger but don’t interpret into Lewis statement what he did not say.

          Also the nerve of Horner to say Lewis was demanding a “grotesque” salary why he pays crash kid over the odds without results. You guys are so blinded by your hatred for Lewis to the point that you can’t see the irony of it.

          1. Your comment is in reply to mine, @pking008 , did you mean to reply to my comment? My comment deals with my opinion of Dan’s motivation, and doesn’t refer to any of what you’re written in your comment.

          2. @pking008 @mog DR said he didn’t mind being paid less and that to me is simply because there has been no choice in the matter. Max approached RBR last year and said he wanted to stay with them, and so they negotiated a contract extension that involved a lot more money for him, and naturally a lot more money than DR. But that is merely due to the timing of contracts, nothing else. If DR wants to stay with RBR I’m sure he will get an equal contract to Max’s.

            Marko and Horner did not ‘shout’ that they want to build the team around Max…Horner said, upon Max approaching them with his commitment to the team, that he (Max) ‘could’ make the team his ala LH at Mercedes or SV at Ferrari, but at no point have RBR acted anything other than like they value both Max and DR equally. It’s just that Max was first to commit to the team and we don’t yet know if DR is as committed or if he is looking elsewhere.

          3. …….OR maybe you guys are so blinded by your love for Lewis to the point that you can’t see the truth. Mog is right, HAM is obviously now maybe even more after the money than after results. The amount of money HAM, VET, ALO and VER are being paid is really obscene and beyond my understanding why the teams accept to pay them so much. RBR was and still is the only big team with their head on the shoulders, the others are pretty nuts. It seems RBR is losing it too tho, did not know VER is paid so much now. He’s special, but the results don’t back him up and they don’t even have a winning car yet. The car is the most important, and RBR took a nobody like VET in 2010, paid him 1mil to race their car… finally beating ALO who was paid 30mils!!

      2. Vettel and Hamilton probably have both a veto on the choice of the other driver alongside them and they might not want Ricciardo in the other car. That leaves RedBull as his sole option and they can basically impose their terms to Daniel… It is how I read it anyway. It might be something different.

        In the other hand RedBull probably paid a higher price than wanted for Verstappen to retain him. Drivers salary don’t obey the intrinsic value of the driver but depends on the market situation as well I guess…

        1. Vettel and Hamilton probably have both a veto on the choice of the other driver alongside them and they might not want Ricciardo in the other car.

          Didnt Hamilton just last week acuse Vettel of having a Veto on who drives along him why he doesn’t in a press conference? So you think he was lying to the press when he said that in a press conference?

        2. @jeanrien Vettel doesn’t have a veto. He denied having it in the Wednesday press conference for the last race.

        3. In the past Hamilton said he didn’t care who raced alongside him and that he didn’t have a veto right in his contract, but even if he did that right would exclude next season because his contract with Mercedes finishes at the end of this season. I think Mercedes signed Bottas for one extra year because they want Ricciardo sitting alongside Hamilton, but if Hamilton does quit F1 then Ricciardo would be a top contender for the job. Mind you, I think Ferrari also signed Raikkonen for one year as well because they want Ricciardo racing alongside Vettel. While Bottas has performed well, I don’t think he’s done well enough to keep Toto from wishing Ricciardo were sitting in one of their cars. Ditto for Arrivabene wishing Ricciardo was at Ferrari. I just hope Ricciardo goes where he isn’t going to be treated as the Number Two driver.

      3. SparkyAMG (@)
        28th May 2018, 13:30

        I would take Horner’s comments as follows:

        Ricciardo wants a winning car and is likely to be less fussed over salary as long as he’s in a team that can produce the goods. Red Bull being utterly dominant this weekend came at a good time for the team as they’ve got an easier time arguing that they can produce a title winning car.

        Ricciardo won’t be so easily convinced though and I doubt winning at Monaco will convince him that the team can produce the goods at every race.

        1. Red Bull being utterly dominant this weekend came at a good time for the team as they’ve got an easier time arguing that they can produce a title winning car.

          @sparkyamg – if this is the rationale behind Horner’s statement that Ricciardo’s price tag has gone down, then I agree with you that it is a laughably weak line of thought, especially since Horner himself stated that Dan’s victory wouldn’t have been possible on any other track (and mentioning 2014 Canada as the example).

          1. I’m sure Horner is being tongue in cheek.

      4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th May 2018, 15:07

        I suspect he wants both – the winning car, of course, comes with more money:-)

        You can’t really be equal to your teammate if you make 25% (or any other fraction) of what he makes. Especially if Daniel knows that.

        1. @freelittlebirds finally someone with a sensible comment. What driver would agree to make less than their team mate if they really want to be taken seriously? Or don’t none of you know the way free market economy works?

      5. Danny is on his old contract which was not that great. It was rubbish in fact. He was just a stand-in for Webber but he turned out to be quite the surprise! After running it and his value immensely higher than in 2014 obviously he’s gonna be demanding more money for the next one. More money than Max is what Horner is afraid of! As much as he like Daniel He may not have that much cash to spare!

    3. “[Ricciardo’s] got a team mate that is, from what I hear, making a lot more money than him,” said Hamilton. “Yet he’s more consistent, keeping the car together a lot more and more often than not pulling through. (…)“At the moment he is pretty much the lead driver in that team so it’s not a bad place to be” .

      Hamilton trying to steer things up at the competition! He’s not wrong though. Hamilton has had off weekends and Vettel has had races where the results haven’t been optimized. Ricciardo has been the best driver by quite a margin so far this season imho. Especially considering RedBull have, overall, the third best car out of 3.

      1. Lewis is right to stir things up after Horner comment last week of Hamilton demanding a “grotesque” salary from Mercedes while he pays crash kid over the odds for no result and Ricciardo gets paid peanuts in F1 terms

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th May 2018, 14:28

        @jeffreyj Ricciardo has been driving way above average, almost great. He looks a lot better at the moment because of his teammate’s performance. If you look at pace and quali in 2018, though, Ricciardo and Verstappen are not that far apart and Ricciardo has reduced the gap this year and is probably Max’s equal.

        There’s no way to tell how Ricciardo would be performing at Mercedes and Ferrari. The Mercedes is not an easy car to drive – for all we know Daniel could be lucky to be able to get the most of it but he could also be 0.4 seconds behind Lewis in every race.

        1. @freelittlebirds I agree Max makes Daniel look good and obviously we cannot know how Ricciardo would be performing at Merc or Ferrari, sure. But we do know that Daniel has taken the preverbial bull by the horns himself though.

          In Australia, he had a disappointing weekend but in every race since then (bar Baku to no fault of his own imho) he collected good points and especially in China he stuck it to his competition and grabbed a victory. With his wounded car yesterday, he again took the win himself and showed he’s one of the best this year. Also, this will be his third year out of three that he will outscore Verstappen. That’s not an incident, that’s a trend.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            29th May 2018, 0:32

            @jeffreyj I agree – there’s no excuse for Verstappen being outscored this season. Last year he had valid excuses but there’s no excuse for his performance so far.

        2. Are you kidding me?!? I’ll tell you how RIC will perform at Mercedes or Ferrari: better than BOT or RAI.

      3. Ricciardo did a few mistakes already have you conveniently forgotten?

    4. Where he currently is isn’t a bad place to be either. Right now he is the red bull lead driver and doing well. If he stays he has that to look forward to and I don’t honestly believe verstappen is a better driver. Maybe he’s faster on his good days but Ricciardo is so consistent. If he stays he has a good chance of red bull pulling it together and then has the option of going to Mercedes or Ferrari later. I don’t see them signing Raikkonen or Bottas into long term deals so his options will open up again in the coming years if he decides to stay. I believe he is one of the best on the grid and would be able to give Vettel and Hamilton a good run for their money.

      Dream scenario would be Ricciardo and Bottas at Mercedes, Hamilton and Verstappen at red bull.

      1. @colinchapman So many questions: is Red Bull able to make him WC? If they change for Honda they may need some more years to put everything together, and Renault also has its team, that is slowly getting better. Maybe Raikkonen will exit this or next year, but if Raikkonen stays one more year than it could be time for Leclerc to go to Maranello. As for Bottas, I don’t see any reason for change him, he is perfect in that role with Lewis. The day Hamilton decide to quit Mercedes, he will quit F1.

        1. Leclec won’t be anywhere near Maranelo soon I fear. Ferrari don’t usually hire drivers with one or two years expereince.

          1. I agree with you there. Ferrari have so often overlooked the young drivers for experienced ones:
            1. For 2013 they overlooked Sérgio Perez and signed Massa again despite Perez having a much better season.
            2.For 2014 they overlooked Nico Hulkenberg for Kimi Raikkonen to replace Massa despite Hulkenberg doing a brilliant job for Ferrari.
            3. For 2015 they overlooked many great young drivers including Hulkenberg, Bottas and and Bianchi to sign Sebastian Vettel (although Vettel was probably the best of their options for that year.)
            4. For 2018, Kimi Raikkonen was well past his best and clearly doesn’t have another championship left in him, but Ferrari chose to keep him on instead of some quick young drivers including Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

            So therefore, I think that if Ricciardo chooses not to go to Ferrari, they will probably just sign Raikkonen again.

            1. I meant Hulkenberg doing a great job for Sauber, not Ferrari.

            2. 1. For 2013 they overlooked Sérgio Perez and signed Massa again despite Perez having a much better season.
              2.For 2014 they overlooked Nico Hulkenberg for Kimi Raikkonen to replace Massa despite Hulkenberg doing a brilliant job for Ferrari.
              3. For 2015 they overlooked many great young drivers including Hulkenberg, Bottas and and Bianchi to sign Sebastian Vettel (although Vettel was probably the best of their options for that year.)
              4. For 2018, Kimi Raikkonen was well past his best and clearly doesn’t have another championship left in him, but Ferrari chose to keep him on instead of some quick young drivers including Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

              @f1frog
              1 His time at McLaren however proved he was not ready.
              2 Agreed, but then again Hülkenberg has been overlooked by all teams on several occasions. Must be something more…
              3 How was Vettel not the absolute best choice?
              4 In this formula you don’t take on a rookie in a top team, you just don’t. Mercedes didn’t go with Ocon either for example. Sainz is still under contract at Red Bull despite driving for Renault…

              Ferrari isn’t even considering Ricciardo, neither is Mercedes.

    5. @garns you’re implying that Verstappen is better than Hamilton. I hate to say this, being a Ferrari fan, but you may be a bit off. At the moment I can’t see anyone better than Lewis; even if he’s not in top form, he can win races and title.

      Maybe you want to see that scenario, but teams want to win championships. With two strong title contenders, you may end up losing everything. Rosberg and Hamilton were an exception since they had a car too strong for their rivals. That’s why we’ll have the same drivers line up in all the three top teams next year: you need a driver that can win every race (Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo) and another that can win half of the races (Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen). The only thing we’ll see in 2019 is a swapped yellow T on top of Red Bulls.

      1. With the car HAM is driving, he should be able to win races on off days.
        The fact he isn’t in “top form” at times is proof he isn’t on par with the likes of Ricciardo and Alonso to name a few.

        1. @Henry I think you’re quite delusional if you think Ricciardo or Alonso is better than Hamilton.Maybe you don’t remember a certain rookie that beat an Alonso a 2-time world champion in 2007

      2. @m-bagattini I really hope Mercedes is not happy with their second driver sitting in 4th now in the drivers standings. While you do present one scenario, that being of firsts and seconds on the teams, there is something to be said for having two strong contenders on the team without it having to mean they rob points from each other and allow the competition in. The other scenario is that a stronger contender than VB, for example, would be shutting out the competition moreso, leaving them at less risk of losing the Championships. I prefer the scenario where the top teams have the guts to hire the absolute very best they can get, enthralling us with an exciting rivalry, while locking out the competition, rather than them banking on one driver doing it. After all, had Nico not retired, he’d be racing this season beside LH. I truly hope Mercedes hasn’t lost that desire to have two top contenders vying for the front row, not just one.

        1. driver sitting in 4th now in the drivers standings.

          @robbie Well, he did loose 25 points in Baku through no fault of his own. At worst he would’ve still been third…

          Ricciardo is in no single way an improvement compared to Bottas if you look at the bigger picture. Obviously he’s a better driver than Bottas, but would you risk the team balance just to win the constructors by 100 points instead of 75. For as long as Ferrari maintain Kimi, and Red Bull is no real treat no team benefits from having two top dogs in their team.

          1. @flatsix, I would agree that robbie is being harder than I think is justifiable on Bottas given that, had he not been forced to retire in Baku, he would be right in the thick of the title fight – he’d be on 93 points, Vettel on 94 and Hamilton on 103.

            In fact, in general I think that Bottas is doing better than the general perception around him, given that he could so easily have won several of the races that went to others instead.

            1. @anon You are right, except that I try not to conveniently just substitute one drivers results without then giving the other drivers the same luxury of hindsight, but yeah, I am perhaps a little harder on VB than he deserves, but then I simply just do not see him as taking off the gloves and getting down to competing with LH and the others in a stamp-your-authority-on-the-team-and-the-season kind of way. I do see DR as more of a threat to LH at Mercedes which is why I’d have no issue with him going there and think it would be better for F1 overall. A more enthralling show at the top.

        2. @robbie Why is it always Mercedes that is debated when we speak about drivers? Why not Ferrari? Ferrari is the better car this year according to all metrics so far. Even Ross Brown said that last few days ago. Why is Kimi lagging so much behind Vettel. Why not agitate to put Ricciardo in Kimi’s seat given Ferrari is the better car so far this year?

          1. @pking008 This topic is about LH opining that DR will not end up at Mercedes. By all means I would love it if DR went to Ferrari and there was no one-rooster rule. Ferrari do claim that KR is not a second driver but an equal, although we know most people don’t buy that, but yeah I would love to see DR at Ferrari too. Or if he stays at RBR that will be fun to watch too. This topic also brought up whether or not LH will have a real challenger at Mercedes, given that VB doesn’t have a contract yet and presumably LH’s is just a formality.

            1. @robbie I agree with most of the first part of your argument. However, the second part where you said regarding Lewis having a contract is plain wrong. Look, Lewis as well as Valteri’s contact expires this year. So none of them have a contract until the dotted lines are signed. So while everyone is fixated on Lewis contract and not Valteri’s is bizarre to me.

            2. @pking008 Well it’s just that I think the vast majority of people observing F1 as fans or as insiders expect that LH will be re-signing with Merc, whereas VB has only been signed for two individual seasons, as in, last year he was signed for this year only…not really a ringing endorsement.

      3. The only thing we’ll see in 2019 is a swapped yellow T on top of Red Bulls.

        You’re dreaming if you think Crashtappen is going to finish this year ahead of Danny Ric! lol

      4. Yeah, I’m kinda starting to believe too VER might actually beat HAM in the same car. Max being almost 13 years younger also helps.

      5. @m-bagattini

        Hey Matteo – I think Max has more raw talent that Lewis, and I don’t say that lightly as Lewis is obviously an excellent driver. Max is making errors this year so its easy to write him off but I think he could hold his own against Lewis (if we can exclude this year of course :)

    6. Lewis Hamilton doubts Daniel Ricciardo is in the frame for a drive at Mercedes despite his strong start to the championship?
      Let’s be real for a second.
      Lewis Hamilton doubts Daniel Ricciardo is in the frame for a drive at Mercedes because of his strong start to the championship.

      1. Obviously. He could be the champion this year. That would be perfect.
        He would stay at Red Bull with no1 status and a better car.
        That’s what F1 needs.

    7. GtisBetter (@)
      28th May 2018, 14:29

      i will not be surprised if both Kimi and valtteri stay, but it’s still a bit early in the season.

    8. @flatsix True about VB but if we’re going to substitute results out of convenience that becomes a never ending discussion and should include convenient changes to what actually happened for all drivers, not just one.

      My answer is a resounding yes, please top teams do risk ‘team balance’ by honouring the paying audience by having two top drivers on your teams racing in the pinnacle of racing, rather than just having one play a support role and not racing.

      Mercedes showed us with LH/NR, which we all admit was a unique relationship that should not be confused with what other relationships would bring, that two drivers can have strife but they can survive that and lock out the front row. Any issues LH and NR had did not prevent the team from success, whereas without that they are at greater risk of losing the Championships. Mercedes cannot rely on Kimi or on RBR remaining no real threat, for their success.

      1. Meant as a reply to your comment a few posts above.

      2. @robbie I agree we should give people results they didn’t earn or earned hypothetically, but Bottas very much would’ve won Baku had his tyre not exploded, so it’s really not that hypothetical in the discussion whether he belongs in the Mercedes or not.

        1. @flatsix No that’s true, it’s not like that blown tire changes how well he has been doing this season, or even going back to the end of last season. But then the key question becomes ‘belongs at Mercedes’ and for me there is ‘doing well enough’ to play a support role there, as I don’t see him really taking the fight to LH, or SV for that matter, and then there’s being a top driver which is what we deserve to have at Mercedes.

          And again, I know VB is good, and although it must sound like I don’t like him, I do, but I just haven’t seen a reason to think of him as a gloves off rival, and that’s what I want to see on the top teams…gloves off rivals…not drivers that are just ‘good enough’ to play a role.

          1. @robbie I agree, but despite him perhaps not having that ‘air’ surrounding him the fact he would’ve been 10 points shy of Hamilton had he won Baku does mean he’s up there. Then both Mercedes drivers would’ve won one race, and the one Hamilton won was the easy one of the two.

            I don’t see Bottas as a future world champion as long as Lewis is besides him, but he’s doing better than people give him credit for, and he’s the perfect backing driver for Lewis too. He’s very close to Bottas, and I wouldn’t doubt if you’d put the numbers and averages next to it we’d see just that.

    9. I see it that way… Ricciardo teams up Vettel in Ferrari. Gasly moves to Red Bull and create very young and talented team with Verstappen… and finally Red Bull switch to Honda next year (2019).

      1. +1 on driver line-ups. Not so sure yet though on the Honda deal. Will fully depend on the performance steps from both Renault and Honda as of their next upgrade (already coming in Montreal??).

    10. I would love to see Ricciardo go to Ferrari in 2019, his Italian heritage will inspire the team and him, it could be the most ultimate partnership team and driver since ferrari with Schumacher. It would be perfect timing, with ferrari overall from what we have seen this year perhaps has the best car. Only problem, I don’t see ferrari signing 2 drivers for a similar fee…

      1. Ferrari would not need to pay a driver who has not won a Championship the same as one has has won 4.

    11. That’s because Hamilton (who needs more internal team pressure, like Rosberg gave him) wants Vettel (who as his teammate, and Vettel (who needs a decent chance at another wdc) doesn’t want Ricciardo as his.

    12. The point is that Daniel Ricciardo is a significantly better driver than Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg or Valteri Bottas. Button beat Hamilton once and was not too far behind him in the previous year. Rosberg beat Hamilton once and kept him honest twice. Bottas, probably the weakest of the three, is not fading off into the distance either.

      I think that a lot of team bosses privately believe that Ricciardo is the best driver on the grid and that may well be true. He has demonstrated that on tracks where his Red Bull is reasonably close (even if still below par) with the Mercs and Ferraris, he can fight for the podium and even win. His overtaking skills are second to none and given a car with a real power unit like the Merc, he may well be the top dog.

      As for Merc, they will know that Ricciardo is over 4 years younger than Hamilton and so more durable. In the face of increasing competition from Ferrari, they can and will brush aside Hamilton’s veto if it really existed. If Vettel beats Hamilton to the WDC in 2018, Merc will almost certainly replace Bottas with Ricciardo.

      1. @loup-garou Hamilton other things on his mind in 2011, Hamilton than decimated Button in 2012, including lapping him in Canada only for McLaren to mess it all up with bad reliability and pit stop, strategies etc. Rosberg was lucky too, Hamilton had more wins, more poles, more DNF’s and more car issues, did not participate in Q3 in few races yet Rosberh could only win by 5 points, don’t fool yourself. Thete is no driver on the grid who’s better than Hamilton.

    13. Let’s be honest here the likely scenariol is that Hamilton would thrash Ricciardo. The Mercedes car and the Redbull are night and day different. You can say goodbye to those late braking divebombs in that Mercedes.

      1. “Let’s be honest here the likely scenariol is that Hamilton would thrash Ricciardo”

        Did you mean to say:

        “Let’s be honest here the likely scenariol is that Ricciardo would thrash Hamilton
        ?
        I’d really love to see either scenario.

        1. I think it would be a really entertaining fight either way

      2. Let’s be honest here the likely scenariol is that Hamilton would thrash Ricciardo.

        That statement in itself is blatantly dishonest.

      3. +1

        Not sure where this claim that Ricciardo is the best driver on the grid has come from. It was only a few weekends ago in Spain that he was awful, slower than MV after claiming he was faster and should be allowed through, and then embarrassingly spinning behind the VSC.

        The only reference point we have for him this year is a driver who has been involved in (sometimes multiple) incidents every weekend. I would say Ricciardo been driving well generally, but his performances have been over-estimated because of MV’s issues. Yeah, he’s been driving better than MV but so what?

        Even if you make the case that he’s the driven the best in 2018 so far, it’s a huge jump from there to claim he is the best driver on track. I always think that a championship fight adds an extra layer to performances, something Ricciardo and Verstappen have yet to experience. Winning multiple championships is the sign of a very special driver. So here and there DR and MV have weekends where they are the best drivers on track, but they are still not on the level of Hamilton, Vettel, and Alonso, in my opinion.

    14. it’s “unlikely” Ricciardo will join Mercedes

      Too bad. Ricciardo and Bottas would make a great team at Merc

      1. @hyoko And you think Mercedes would let Hamilton go ?, you are pathetic if you think that.

    15. It may depend on Seb’s performance this year.
      If Seb fails to win the WDC even though the Ferrari proves to be equal or better than Merc, they may be inclined to bring in RIC as his teammate.
      If VET does win the WDC this year, I think VET will select his partner – no doubt Kimi.
      RIC may be stuck at Red Bull with VES which would be sad.

      1. Completely agree. Ferrari could lose their patience with Seb if he fails to deliver the title this year. I think it’s entirely possible that they hedge their bets on another driver who can win them the WDC and bring Ricciardo in. Although, it will be too late in the year for Ferrari to make that decision, as Ricciardo has a July-August deadline.

        I think the more realistic scenario at Ferrari will either be Kimi for one more season, or Leclerc if he continues to improve over the course of the season.

    16. Lewis may not have “veto power” at Mercedes, but I’m sure his warning would have a bit of sway if he told the team he won’t sign with them in 2019 if they sign Ricciardo.

    17. This has got to be the most accurate thing Hamilton has said in a while. Can’t see Ricciardo moving either. Bottas and Raikkonen will stay, unless Raikkonen decides to retire but I think Ferrari will talk him around if he suggests that.

    18. YellowSubmarine
      30th May 2018, 11:00

      Red Bull have treated Ricciardo quite shabbily, making no secret of their plans to build the team around Verstappen.I hope he leaves the team and goes elsewhere. Renault? McLaren?
      To all those saying Lewis is scared of Danny, etc – suppose Lewis had come out and said he’d love to be joined at Merc by Ricciardo, guess what you all would be saying right now? “Hamilton is so arrogant, he shows no respect to Bottas…” etc.

    19. When the second seat became available at Mercedes, Hamilton seemed worried that Mercedes might fill it with Alonso.

      Started making statements in the media that there was no way Alonso would be his teammate (indicating veto power).

      He seems to be doing the same now. Telling Mercedes via the media that there’s no way in hell he’s going to put up with having Ricciardo as teammate.

      Hammy is quite happy with the status quo at Mercedes right now. Bottas wasn’t much faster than Massa and subservient to Hamilton in terms of team dynamic.

      1. YellowSubmarine
        31st May 2018, 2:03

        When the second seat became available at Mercedes, Hamilton seemed worried that Mercedes might fill it with Alonso

        Nothing to do with ability, though, as “Hammy” already beat Alonso in the same car.
        Probably because of the negative politics that seems to be a part of the Alonso Package? Plus, of course, Mercedes’ leadership weren’t too keen on Alonso themselves: Lauda said Alonso is “selfish, moody and negative”.
        I wouldn’t want such a driver joining my team when I’m already winning and have both the WDC and the Constructors’ titles to defend – he’d just upset team dynamics.
        Some more choice Lauda sentiments on Alonso:

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