Daniel Ricciardo's title chances have increased meaningfully with the retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg, according to former Red Bull stalwart Mark Webber.
Webber has always been a big fan of the man that succeeded him at the Milton Keynes-based outfit, tipping his countryman for the supreme title sooner rather than later.
"Daniel was probably the most consistent driver in the field this year and he's absolutely world class, in the top three drivers," Webber told The Age newspaper.
Many are expecting Red Bull to make the most of the 2017 regulation change and banking on Adrian Newey's genius to pen once again a winning car. With Mercedes weakened by Rosberg's departure, in Webber's view, Ricciardo's chances appear considerably boosted.
"(Ricciardo) is in a position to go again next year and certainly vie for the championship if Red Bull can get the car together, because Nico is virtually impossible to replace in the short term at Mercedes.
"Nico and Lewis drove each other to be better, but now they won't have that all-star lineup. Lewis is brilliant and absolutely ruthless, but this will shake up the F1 market."
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