Daniel Ricciardo is eager to take on reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton as his future teammate as he begins to weight up his options in the sport.

The Red Bull driver’s current F1 deal expires at the end of 2018 and he has already expressed his desire to hold off contract negotiations until he can assess the fortunes of the top teams during the opening rounds of the new season.

Ricciardo, who graduated into F1 via the Red Bull junior programme and is set to start his fifth campaign at the Milton Keynes-based squad, is eager to find a title-contending set-up with his next F1 deal and as he is set to turn 29 in July the Australian driver sees it as a key moment in his racing career if he is to achieve his dream of becoming an F1 world champion.

While ruling out what teams he’s targeting, Ricciardo has singled out four-time F1 world champion Hamilton as a potential teammate he’d relish taking on. Ricciardo got the better of his previous F1 world champion teammate in Sebastian Vettel in his first year at Red Bull Racing before the German left for Ferrari.

“I would like to go against Lewis at some point, irrespective of team situation. That would be fun,” Ricciardo told Racer. “People will probably call me a liar for this but I would like a fast teammate. For two reasons: It's always going to get more out of yourself, and it's going to be more of a true evaluation of how good you are and where you stand.

“I'm in this sport, yes to win, but to win by being the best, not getting lucky or whatever. If I win a title I want to know that I was the best guy that year.

“To be the best you have to go against the best and I've certainly got a very good one alongside me in Max [Verstappen].”

Hamilton’s current F1 contract also expires at the end of 2018 but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently stated “it is only a matter of time” before the final details of the British driver’s new deal at the reigning world champions will be confirmed at a rumoured £120m per year.


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