Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport, is convinced Daniel Ricciardo would be challenging for race wins and the world title if the Aussie was behind the wheel of a Mercedes.
Ricciardo clinched his second podium of the season at the Emilia Romagna GP, the Renault charger delivering a solid drive to third at Imola that also allowed his team to vault to third in the Constructors' standings, one point ahead of rivals McLaren and Racing Point.
Riccardo's scintillating performance has come as the 31-year-old concludes his stint with Renault and ahead of his move to Woking for 2021.
Brawn only hopes that McLaren will give the Aussie a car worthy of his abundant talent.
"Daniel Ricciardo is a brilliant driver, and one of the very best in Formula 1," Brawn commented in his post-race debrief for Formula1.com.
"His drive to another podium was very impressive. If he had a Mercedes, that’s absolutely no doubt in my mind he would taking race wins and pole positions and challenging for the World Championship.
"He’s doing a fantastic job right now and Renault will be sad to lose him, even if Fernando Alonso is the man who’ll be stepping in.
"I hope McLaren can give Daniel a car he deserves next season. He’s a great member of the F1 fraternity."
Sky F1 consultant Paul di Resta believes Ricciardo's latest results with Renault have put the seven-time Grand Prix winner in "a strange place" as he performs with a team that he will soon leave.
"He’s been great – very relaxed, and he goes out there and delivers," said the former F1 driver.
"I feel he’s in a strange place because when you’re in Parc Fermé and he’s got those podiums, it’s the start of something that I think was going to go quite far from a leadership point of view for Daniel.
"But of course he’s leaving there and going to McLaren because he thought that was the best chance before the season had started. But Renault are on the up.
"It was an ambitious ask to think they can finish third as a constructor this year, but they’re in a great place to try and achieve it."