Häkkinen: Ricciardo has 'time on his side' for F1 comeback

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Mika Häkkinen believes the context surrounding Daniel Ricciardo's exit from F1 leaves the Aussie with "time on his side" to organize a comeback.

After parting ways with McLaren, Ricciardo will have one foot in the F1 paddock next season as Red Bull's third driver, a status that will also include simulator and marketing work with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

While keeping tabs on F1 next season, Ricciardo is also keen to step out of the fast lane for a period of time to undergo a physical and mental reset, and his role with Red Bull will provide him with an opportunity to do both.

But Häkkinen, a two-time F1 world champion who declined an opportunity to return to the sport after his retirement at the end of 2001, believes Ricciardo could return to the fray in the future.

"It was great to see Daniel Ricciardo finish his career at McLaren by joining Lando Norris in the points [in Abu Dhabi]," Hakkinen wrote in his column for Unibet.

"Daniel is a good driver, but after some years in F1 a break can be important."

Häkkinen views the Aussie's current situation as very different from his own over two decades ago.

"When I retired from F1, my McLaren team boss Ron Dennis convinced me to call it a sabbatical, but I knew I would not be coming back.

"I think Daniel is different – he has had a couple of tough seasons and just needs to rediscover his motivation. At 33 years of age, he has time on his side."

Häkkinen also had a word for Sebastian Vettel who closed the curtain in Abu Dhabi on his fifteen-year career in F1.

"Sebastian Vettel’s retirement is a big moment for him and F1," said the Finn.

"He did an absolutely brilliant job at Red Bull to win those four titles and I feel sure we can say that finishing 2nd in a Ferrari to Lewis in 2017 and 2018 – at the top of Mercedes dominance – was really a great achievement."

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