Martin Brundle has put forward an "outrageous curveball" and suggested Daniel Ricciardo could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season.
As the uncertainty over Ricciardo's future rumbles on, one prediction has been for Ricciardo to replace Valtteri Bottas, whose deal also expires at the end of the 2018 campaign, and become Hamilton's team-mate – something the Aussie himself has welcomed.
But Sky Sports pundit Brundle has said that Ricciardo may well join Mercedes, but instead taking the seat from an unhappy Hamilton.
“It's a tough call for Ricciardo, assuming the two seats are actually available to him,” Brundle told Sky Sports.
“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.”
Brundle also pondered a potential move to Ferrari for Ricciardo, and would understand if Kimi Raikkonen created a vacant seat by retiring at the end of the year.
“If Kimi feels unloved and unlucky at Ferrari at the moment I wouldn't blame him at all [in retiring,” he added.
“Might Red Bull eventually be a more comfortable and faster home to remain at than Mercedes or Ferrari, or have they invested their future primarily into Verstappen?”