Ricciardo deserves race seat not reserve role, Hamilton and Russell say

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo deserves a place on the Formula 1 grid in 2023, the two Mercedes drivers have said, after reports linking him to a reserve role at their team.

Last year’s Italian Grand Prix winner is looking for a new team as the series returns to Monza this weekend after McLaren cut his three-year deal short by a season.

In response to claims Ricciardo could join Mercedes as a reserve next year, Lewis Hamilton made it clear he believes the eight-time grand prix winner deserves to remain on the grid.

“I think he should be racing, personally,” said Hamilton. “I think he’s far too talented and he’s earned the right to be amongst us all racing.

“Of course if he’s a part of our team that’d be great but I mean, third role is not really, I think, what’s best for him. If I was managing him, he would be racing.”

A reserve role at Mercedes could put Ricciardo in line to replace Hamilton when he chooses to step down. But the seven-times champion, whose current Mercedes contract expires at the end of the 2023 F1 season, indicated he isn’t planning to quit soon.

“For years it’s been going around, up and down with stories of retirement and stopping [but] for me I feel healthier than I’ve ever felt,” said Hamilton. “I don’t plan on stopping.”

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“My goal is always to be with Mercedes,” he continued. “I signed with them in 1997. I love that we have the partnership we have.

“I feel like we are embarking on a lot of really positive things not only in the sport but outside and I think there’s a lot to accomplish together. So I want to be a part of that. I think I’ll always be with Mercedes until the day I die. And I feel like I can race for quite a bit longer.”

George Russell echoed his team mate’s view. “I think Daniel’s record speaks for itself,” he said. “He’s a driver deserving of a seat on the Formula 1 grid and I think it would be a real shame for him to not be there next season.

“Obviously from our side having a driver of his calibre join the team in any capacity would be a real boost and he’s a guy I really get on with. But as I said I hope he stays on the grid.”

Although his options to remain on the grid next year are dwindling, Ricciardo said his priority is to continue racing in F1.

“I’m keeping every opportunity for not only next year but the future. I still don’t know what next year looks like.

“As Lewis said, I do want to be on the grid, I do want to race. I touched on a few weeks ago that although this has been been a challenging time in my career it hasn’t taken the love of the sport away from me and that desire to still be here and still compete.”

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2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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8 comments on “Ricciardo deserves race seat not reserve role, Hamilton and Russell say”

  1. Daniel signs for Mercedes, replacing George Russell. “Best £500 I ever spent!” says Lewis

  2. Unfortunately mercedes does not suit Daniels driving style. Would be cool to see him in mercedes.

    1. What car does to be fair, I think that’s the problem. These new cars have very different traits to previous years cars and while the blame has been piled on the drivability of the Mclaren by the Ricciardo camp, I’m not sure if Daniel’s style is suited to the current cars.

      I’d be pinning my hopes on a 1 or 2 year Alpine contract if I was him with a view to raising his stock to be offered an extension there or perhaps as a possible Hamilton replacement at Mercedes for 2024/5. I think he’d make a good fit for Mercedes if he can find his form in the new cars as a second driver to Russell.

      He desperately needs to find a couple of good races though and quickly because his current form is so bad I’d not touch him for next year unless I got him for next to nothing salary wise.

    2. Any car can suit his driving style, provided the team want it enough.

  3. Easy to say when you’re not writing the paycheques.

  4. I am not sure Daniel is going to go to Alpine again. I think they have quite a field to choose from including many younger drivers. I think Haas is his best option but I read something that said Hulkenberg is in with a good chance of the Haas drive? I think it was on Twitter but it was from a recognised commentator.

    I hope Daniel gets a seat as I think he does still have something to give to F1. A good performance this weekend would improve his chances.

    1. Then thinking about Hulk it does makes some sense. After all they brought back Magnussen from nowhere and it’s really worked out for them. Why not try the same approach a second time?

  5. Based on his current performances he doesn’t. He’s gone from a guy that was talked about as a champion in waiting to now barely being good enough for a backmarker – there’s only so far ‘potential’ is going to carry you and his current performances are lacklustre and slow. He also has nowhere to go; being a reserve might stick him about for a while but does not guarantee a drive, the way I see it it’s Haas, Williams or retirement.

    I’d like him to go to one of them and perform a phoenix-like rise from the ashes, find his form and rebuild his reputation. But currently I don’t see that if he’s only focussed on getting a ‘good’ drive with none of standing to ask for it.

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