Martin Brundle throws 'outrageous curveball' out there regarding Lewis Hamilton's future

AUTO-PRIX-F1-AUS

It has been quite a few days for Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

Having triumphed at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday, the Australian has been tipped for greater things to come throughout the rest of this current Formula One season.

Sky Sports' pundit Martin Brundle has tipped Ricciardo to possibly mount a Drivers' Championship title challenge come the closing few weeks of the season following on from his performance in the Far East.

So far this season, early favourites Mercedes have struggled, not winning a single race in three attempts.

And, Brundle believes that with the Mercedes team struggling, he expects Ricciardo and Red Bull to front up a title pursuit.

Brundle said: "If Ricciardo sometimes lacks the absolute raw pace of his young teammate Max Verstappen, he more than makes up for it with a racing guile that any of the past F1 legends would appreciate.

"In the same style as his other five victories, shown a glimmer of unexpected glory he ruthlessly and opportunistically moves forward.

"As Ricciardo said on Sky F1 post-race, give him a regularly front-running car and he's ready for a title challenge. I wouldn't even discount that as an outside chance for 2018 if Red Bull and Renault keep developing well.

"Mercedes no longer dominate in every respect of F1."

F1 Grand Prix of China

Ricciardo's stock is increasing by each Grand Prix, and the 28-year-old Perth-born driver is set to be in demand from some of the sport's big companies.

Brundle explored the possibility of Ricciardo replacing Lewis Hamilton, should the Brit decide to move onto pastures new away from Mercedes. 

Brundle concluded: "If Mercedes is an opportunity, where would he sit within the all-powerful sphere of Lewis Hamilton?

"Let me throw this outrageous curveball.

"Hamilton doesn't seem particularly happy at the moment, and I can imagine he will be super expensive to hire for his next Merc contract too. If that isn't already signed, would Mercedes go for the four-and-a-half-year younger Ricciardo instead? Sponsorship agreements might complicate that."

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