Daniel Ricciardo says he hopes his former team-mate Sebastian Vettel continues racing in F1 beyond this season despite the lack of clarity around his future following the decision to exit Ferrari at end of 2020.

Vettel kickstarted a round of musical chairs in the F1 driver market earlier this month when he confirmed his tenure at Ferrari will cease later this year, prompting Carlos Sainz to take his seat in the Italian team and Ricciardo to replace the Spaniard at McLaren.

However, Vettel’s decision to leave Ferrari without having a deal in place for 2021 threatens to leave him with limited options should he want to continue.

As it stands, rumours have circulated that his availability has piqued the interest of the top brass at Mercedes to draft him in alongside Lewis Hamilton, though many fear any ensuing inter-team rivalry could have a destabilising effect for the multiple title-winning outfit.

With Red Bull ruling out making a bid for its four-time World Champion, Vettel could be looking at taking a punt on the current mid-field runners, with Renault and the rebranded Aston Martin (Racing Point) teams identified as potential options too.

With Vettel himself staying quiet on the matter, Ricciardo hopes the German doesn’t take this as his moment to retire from the sport entirely.

"If I know him well enough, I believe he's still hungry and competitive enough to want to continue,” Ricciardo told CNN before going on to joke: "Also, because he's still older than me. So it makes me not the oldest guy,"

"I like Seb. Obviously, I had him as a teammate, but as a competitor he brings something to our sport.

"He's one of the very few if not the only one that isn't active on social media, and he's one of the most successful people ever in our sport, yet he's one of the most private. And even that in itself brings a lot of mystery behind him."

 

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