Ricciardo is too talented to be a reserve: Hamilton

Daniel Ricciardo should be racing in Formula One next season rather than take a reserve role, Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday amid speculation the Australian could end up supporting him at Mercedes after leaving McLaren.

Ricciardo, 33, is leaving McLaren a year early by mutual agreement and told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix that he was keeping all options open, for next year and beyond.

Sitting alongside the eight-times grand prix winner in a scheduled news conference at Monza, seven-times world champion Hamilton said he wanted to see Ricciardo continue on the starting grid.

"I think he should be racing, personally. He is far too talented (to be a reserve). He has earned the right to be amongst us all racing," said the 37-year-old, who made clear he had no plans to retire and open a seat.

"Of course if he’s a part of our team, then great. But that role is not anywhere near what’s best for him. If I was managing him, he’d be racing."

Ricciardo won at Monza last year but has generally struggled since he joined McLaren, out-performed by team mate Lando Norris. The team have announced 21-year-old Australian Oscar Piastri, currently a reserve for both Renault-owned Alpine and McLaren, as his replacement.

"I still don't know what next year looks like," said Ricciardo. "I do want to be on the grid, I do want to race."

The Australian said earlier in the week that he wanted to hear everything. "Even if it's reserve, I don't want to be too proud to say, 'I'm too good for that'. I just want to hear everything and see what makes sense," he told Australia's The Core website.

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