The seven-time F1 race winner thinks that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is not the only driver who is capable of countering the legacy of Hamilton.
Red Bull is currently hoping to end its eight-year barren spell in the constructors’ championship as Verstappen looks to win his maiden drivers’ title this year.
Since 2017, Mercedes and Hamilton have grabbed every possible title and are hoping to do the same this season too despite facing a challenge from Verstappen.
The Brit is currently 14 points in the clear at the top of the standings after scoring three wins in the four Grand Prix this season.
Verstappen managed to notch only one chequered flag in Imola last month and has struggled ever since. However, the Dutchman is in a good place and he might find himself on the top once Hamilton decides to retire.
Ricciardo, who has partnered Verstappen for two seasons with Red Bull, seems to think that Max will come out on top after his Mercedes rival leaves the grid.
What did Ricciardo say?
“I think Max will be at the top for as long as he wants to race,” Ricciardo told RacingNews365.
“Probably that is with him, as with Lewis, that he will go far, can be into his thirties if he wants to.”
Even though Ricciardo knows the true potential of his ex-teammate, he claims that the post-Hamilton era will see a battle between a bunch of new-age drivers.
Apart from Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, and George Russell are also the rising stars who can make it large on the grid and have the potential to win.
“I’ve already worked with a lot of the next generation, Max for example,” explained Ricciardo.
“So you have Max and I think also Charles. We will see how Lando is doing this year, but he already showed that he has what it takes to reach the top.
“I also expect George to be at the front of the field as soon as he gets access to a good car. And then you have guys like Sainz and myself.
“I just call us the mid-aged guys, who have been around for quite some years. Just like in many sports, the talents are getting younger and younger.
“I think that’s also because they have people around them with experience, who they can learn from practice. This also makes them learn faster.”
Who else could lead the pack?
Ever since he joined the team back in 2019, Leclerc has established himself as the future of Ferrari after he signed a five-year deal with the outfit last season.
Another significant name on the grid is Lando Norris who is Ricciardo’s teammate at McLaren.
Russell has proven himself to be a potential replacement for Hamilton and even Valtteri Bottas after he got a chance to drive for Mercedes when Hamilton contracted Covid-19.
While it might seem that Verstappen will be leading the pack soon, his young co-drivers will put up a nail-biting fight to get to the top.
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