Despite having a contract for next year, McLaren confirmed that it would be cutting ties with Ricciardo for next year, paving the way for Alpine junior Oscar Piastri.

The Australian has struggled considerably since joining the Woking-based outfit at the start of 2021, struggling to match teammate Lando Norris.

Even though he ended McLaren’s nine-year win drought, Ricciardo has been dropped for 2023 but is set to receive a rumoured £15 million pay-off as a result.

Speaking ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton feels that Ricciardo still has a lot to achieve in F1 and hopes that he can find a drive for next year.

“It’s really unfortunate for Daniel but I really, really hope but I still think he deserves a place in the sport so I really hope there’s somewhere great for him because he’s still got lots to achieve,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton was also questioned about the length of Ricciardo’s McLaren deal (three years) and there being no escape clauses for either party.

Reflecting on his own career, Hamilton explained: “Just from my personal experience, I think there's always pros and cons, in all different scenarios. I remember when I signed at McLaren, I signed a long deal. I think that was good at the time. 

“When you do a short deal… it takes time to bond with the team, it takes time to build relationships, it’s not something you can do in half a year, or a year. I am incredibly grateful for my journey with my team because we are still continuously improving and growing closer, and starting to create some change. 

“Each to their own though, whatever works. I look down and see what other drivers are doing - it doesn’t matter what I think, whether I think it’s right or wrong, it’s what they feel is right. At the end of the day, just the opportunity to re-sign with a team is an amazing scenario.”

Can Mercedes win this weekend?

After a troublesome start to the year, Mercedes appear to be on the right track with Hamilton finishing on the podium in the last five races, while teammate George Russell secured his maiden pole position last time out at the Hungaroring.

The 37-year-old conceded it will be very difficult to overcome Red Bull or Ferrari in the second half of the season but remains confident that their first victory of 2022 is closer than it has ever been.

“I do, definitely,” he added. “Of course, we’ve been improving, we’ve had this consistency that’s come up from the recent races and great progress that the team is making, everyone pulling together, continuing to push. 

“The car is becoming more of a racing car which is not particularly what it was at the beginning of the year, more like a racing car with its characteristics which is positive. The last race was obviously the best showing that we’ve had so far and that for us was a huge boost that we can close that gap. It’s naturally going to be tough. 

“We will keep our heads down, the other guys are doing an amazing job but I do believe that we can close the gap.”