Hill underscores big question mark hanging over Ricciardo

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Damon Hill hopes Daniel Ricciardo rebounds and "comes up smelling of roses" in the future, but the former F1 driver fears every team boss will be asking the same question about the Aussie.

Ricciardo will end his two-year tenure with McLaren at the end of the season, having failed to fulfil his and his team's expectations despite delivering to the papaya squad last year at Monza its first win in F1 since Brazil 2012.

And yet both parties had high hopes that their association would yield significant success. Instead the former Red Bull and Renault driver and eight-time Grand Prix winner has been reduced to a mere also-ran this season.

"Danny’s been such a fantastic character for our sport, effervescent and always smiling and stuff, but something’s gone wrong," said Hill on Sky F1.

"Not only in his pace at McLaren, but also in his strategy for getting himself in a competitive car.

"Something fell through the cracks there and let’s hope he comes up smelling of roses somewhere and we see him back at the front."

Opportunities for Ricciardo to remain on the grid are scarce. The 33-year-old was seen as a potential replacement for Fernando Alonso at Alpine, but that seat now appears to have Pierre Gasly's name on it.

Therefore, a year on the sidelines seems like Ricciardo's most probable option, and its one also one that would make sense for Hill. However, even transposed to the future, one question still remains according to the 1996 F1 world champion.

"I think there is some logic to that," said Hill. "If you’re at least with a top team, even if you’re in the wings and waiting for the right opportunity, you will have information that is useful to another team perhaps, potentially.

"But every team manager would be looking at him and everyone, every team, will be looking at him and asking ‘where’s the pace gone? Is it coming back?’

"And that’s the big question mark. We don’t know."

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