Lewis Hamilton has issued a stern warning to Daniel Ricciardo, insisting the Australian must avoid “rocking the boat” at Red Bull as he prepares to finalise his racing plans beyond 2018.
Ricciardo, who is one of Formula One’s hottest out-of-contract stars, joined Red Bull at the beginning of 2014 and despite claiming five wins in that time hasn’t had the machinery to consistently challenge Mercedes and Ferrari at the front of the grid. However, winter testing suggested the Milton Keynes outfit could once again be in the mix for race wins, making Ricciardo’s decision all the more complex.
Four-time world champion Hamilton believes contract negotiations should be treated as a delicate matter and while chasing a shot in a title-winning car is fine, the 28-year-old must remember not to cause any friction at Red Bull.
“The important thing is just remembering not to alienate the team you are in,” Hamilton said. “It’s all good and well hoping at some stage to experience something new at another team but there’s a lot of people in our teams and it’s really important to keep them encouraged and focussed on you as a driver to help you achieve your goal.
“There are some drivers in recent years who have made bad decisions in upsetting and rocking the boat, but he is in a great place.”
Former teammate Sebastian Vettel echoed Hamilton’s comments claiming Ricciardo is a proven quantity in the sport and shouldn’t have to look too far to find some enticing offers.
“I don’t know what he wants or how much he is asking but I’m confident he will find a seat,” Vettel said. “I think he has a couple of options and I don’t think he needs to rush.”
Ricciardo remained cagey on the subject and confirmed he will be putting negotiations and contract talks on hold, at least until he is through the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“This is a year which our [preperation] has been good and I really hope we will have a chance to fight for the title and then that’ll ultimately make me very happy.”