Daniel Ricciardo tipped to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in major Max Verstappen snub

Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of becoming a seven-time F1 world champion and Jenson Button thinks there are only three drivers that could compete with the Mercedes driver. Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo are those that can take it to Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas is the current team-mate of Hamilton at Mercedes with the oine-up expected to be the same next season.

But Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate, Button, believes Ricciardo would be a great driver to have alongside the 35-year-old.

The Australian will move from Renault to McLaren for 2021 and partner Lando Norris.

Button is not convinced current Williams driver and Mercedes development star George Russell is ready to partner Hamilton just yet.

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“I don’t think George is ready to be up against Lewis yet, there aren’t many drivers that are,” Button told Autosport.

“Max, Charles and Daniel Ricciardo – that’s it I reckon, those are the guys that are ready to challenge Lewis.

“I’d love to see Danny Ric up against Lewis, because I think he would mentally hurt Lewis a lot.

“He would be quick and he would laugh everything off, he would be so relaxed, so down to earth, he’s a proper character and I know that most drivers would find that difficult.”

Button thinks Hamilton’s dominance will continue until he gets a stronger team-mate with Red Bull some distance off Mercedes.

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“Comparing records is a tricky one,” he explained.

“We all like a number and we all like to beat a number, but it’s really difficult to compare.

“All you can say is he’s done the best job he can and the team have done a fantastic job, they’ve not been beaten in the hybrid era and Lewis has won all but one Championship with them.

“I don’t see that changing either. It’s going to continue until he stops, or until he gets a team-mate that can actually challenge him.

“He’s definitely learned from his team-mates, and he’s definitely a more rounded driver than when we were team-mates. But if he had a team-mate like Max [Verstappen], we would see a different driver from Lewis.

“He needs to have that challenge, otherwise he’ll just keep doing the same thing and he’s going to keep winning the Championship.

“He needs somebody that’s going to challenge him and Mercedes. You can’t blame them because it’s easier if they’ve got one guy who is quicker than the other.

“I know Valtteri gets close in qualifying and sometimes out-qualifies him, but race pace compared to Lewis this year, he’s nowhere near him.”

F1 returns this weekend with Hamilton on the verge of equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships.

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