Lewis Hamilton has endorsed Daniel Ricciardo to remain in Formula 1 in 2023, insisting the Australian driver "deserves a place in the sport".
Ricciardo and McLaren recently agreed to part ways at the end of the season, or a year before the term of their original three-year deal.
On paper, Alpine, Williams and Haas are all potential options for Ricciardo although only the French outfit is likely to be of interest to the eight-time Grand Prix winner.
"It’s really unfortunate for Daniel," commented Hamilton last weekend at Spa.
"I still think he deserves a place here in the sport. So I really hope there’s somewhere great for him, because he’s still got lots to achieve."
Indeed, the 33-year-old himself hopes to press on in 2023, insisting he still love the sport immensely.
"I still have that fire in me and that belief in my belly that I can do this at the highest level," he said after confirming his exit from McLaren.
Ricciardo's case has highlighted the usefulness of drivers signing multi-year contracts in F1 if a deal can be prematurely ended before a term.
Hamilton believes there are "pros and cons" to long-term contracts depending on circumstances and on what a driver feels is right.
"Just from my personal experience, I think there’s pros and cons always in all different scenarios," said the seven-time world champion.
"I remember when I signed at McLaren, I signed a loan deal. And I think that was good at the time.
"When you do short deals… it takes time to bond with a team, it takes time to build relationships, it’s not something that you can do in half a year or a year."
Hamilton, who has raced for just two teams during his sixteen-year tenure in F1 – McLaren and Mercedes – is currently in his tenth season with the Brackley squad, a longevity that has delivered six of his seven world titles.
"I’m incredibly grateful for my journey with my team because we’re still continuously improving and growing closer and, and starting to actually create some change," he added.
"But to each their own, whatever works. I look down, and see what other drivers are doing. It doesn’t matter what I think, whether I think it’s right or wrong, it’s what they feel is right.
"And at the end of the day, just the opportunity to re-sign with the team is an amazing scenario."
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