Hamilton cautions Ricciardo not to alienate Red Bull

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Lewis Hamilton has cautioned Formula 1 rival Daniel Ricciardo not to alienate Red Bull Racing while negotiations about his future with the team continue.

Ricciardo, whose current contract expires this year, has yet to sign a deal for 2019, and has been mentioned in connection with Mercedes and Ferrari, who will potentially have seats available after this season.

Mercedes driver Hamilton warned Ricciardo that coveting a seat at another team can ruin your relationship with your current employer.

The Briton reckons that is a particularly sensitive issue this year, as he believes Ricciardo could be fighting for the title.

"An important thing really is to look at the history of drivers, and things that drivers have said in the past, and try not to alienate the team that you're in," said Hamilton during Thursday's press conference ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

"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 of recent years who have made bad decisions in upsetting and rocking the boat.

"He's in a great place still, Red Bull I think this year can really have a fighting chance to win the championship.

"An opinion of where you might want to go if it's not where he currently is may shift."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes that the only hurdle to overcome in getting Ricciardo to agree a new deal is convincing him that the Milton Keynes-based outfit will have a competitive engine next year.

"I think the big question is the engine," Horner told Motorsport.com. "It is the only bit he misses – that we can't give him the answer to, and that he needs to see for himself how things progress.

"His confidence in the team, the way the team fits his personality, and the freedom that he has, which is so important to get the best out of any individual, is there."

Pushed on whether he was concerned the contract issue could become a distraction, Horner said: "What is annoying about it is that at every grand prix somebody will be asking him. But they should in theory also be asking Valtteri [Bottas], Lewis [Hamilton] and Kimi [Raikkonen]. But it will run its course.

"We are relatively relaxed because we have got some great options available to us. We want people and we want drivers that want to be in the team.

"It doesn't feel right to have to go and force an issue, or to force a decision. Daniel knows what the position of the team is. We want to continue with him.

"The door is open but it won't stay open forever. There will come a point in time that it is: 'okay, it is either get off the fence or we will have to take up own options."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo
Teams Red Bull Racing
Article type Breaking news