Verstappen and Hamilton back Ricciardo to stay in F1

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have both expressed their hope that Daniel Ricciardo will remain in F1 following news of his exit from McLaren.

After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that Ricciardo and the Woking-based squad have mutually decided to end the Australian’s 2023 contract early, with Ricciardo set to leave the team at the end of 2022.

Ricciardo has stated that he will announce his future plans in due course, and his former teammate Verstappen can understand how the situation has unfolded.

“For Daniel, I think he was in a situation where the car was not suiting him,” Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.com.

“There was no real improvement of him feeling better in the car. And then at one point I guess [the driver and team] talk to each other, and say to each other, ‘Maybe it’s better that we both pursue different directions’. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Verstappen hopes to see Ricciardo stay in F1

While Ricciardo’s next steps are currently unknown, Verstappen is hopeful that the 33-year-old – who he drove alongside at Red Bull between 2016 and 2018 – will still be on the grid next season.

“He’s great to have in Formula 1,” the Dutchman said.

“He’s a great guy, first of all. I get on really well with him, so I hope he finds a place but, of course, it’s up to him now.

“I don’t know where he wants to go or where there is space for him.”

Hamilton voices support for Ricciardo

Hamilton has joined Verstappen in voicing his support for Ricciardo.

The Mercedes driver believes that Ricciardo – who has secured eight victories in his Formula 1 career to date – still has “lots to achieve” in the sport.

“It’s really unfortunate for Daniel, but I still think he deserves a place here in the sport,” Hamilton explained.

“So I really hope there’s somewhere great for him, because he’s still got lots to achieve.”

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