Lewis Hamilton has backed Daniel Ricciardo’s “brave” decision to leave Red Bull for Renault in 2019, adding the “risk” is similar to his own gamble to join Mercedes.

Ricciardo shocked the F1 paddock during the summer break by switching to Renault for next season, with his Red Bull contract expiring at the end of the current campaign.

The decision to leave a race-winning team and join current midfield leaders Renault has been dubbed an “enormous risk” by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, but the reigning world champion has praised Ricciardo.

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“I obviously know what mine were and they will probably be similarities within it, and I am really happy for him,” Hamilton said.

“It’s always brave to make a decision that’s out of the norm knowing that people are going to have opinions about it and that it’s still halfway through the season not knowing which way the next year is going to go.

“It’s an exciting period for him,” he added. “A lot of people in life are scared of change and therefore get stuck in a space that is not their happiest space but they get by.

“It’s cool to see Daniel, similar to me, is wanting to elevate himself and wanting to try something new - good or bad, and take the risk.”

Hamilton ended his own long-standing relationship with McLaren to join Mercedes in 2013 and is currently leading the 2018 drivers’ standings as he bids to claim a fourth world championship title in six years with the German manufacturer.

He said he understands what it is like to be in Ricciardo’s position and believes similarities can be drawn between the two moves.

“I was there once, so I know what it’s like to be in that position,” he explained. “I can’t tell you why he made his decision because I don’t know what information he has and what reasons are behind his choice.

“I can imagine there are similarities between them.”

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