Hamilton: Ricciardo will cope
Lewis Hamilton believes Daniel Ricciardo's impending move up the grid to Red Bull will prove a "natural progression" and the Australian will cope with the increased pressure that comes with driving for one of Formula 1's top teams.
Although Ricciardo will make the step up to the World Champions next season with two-and-a-half seasons of F1 race experience under his belt, there are some comparisons to be drawn with Hamilton's own assent to a leading F1 race seat with McLaren in 2007.
Both drivers came through their respective teams' young driver programmes while Ricciardo, like Hamilton with Fernando Alonso, will be a team-mate to a multiple World Champion - Sebastian Vettel.
Six years on from that rookie season at McLaren Hamilton, now at Mercedes, admitted he was pleased to see Ricciardo get the coveted Red Bull seat.
In a wide-ranging chat with the F1 press pack on Thursday at Monza, Hamilton when asked if thought it was good to see a young driver getting a chance with the World Champions, replied: "I think it is. It's great. It just makes sense; it's not a surprise to me to hear it.
"Considering they [Red Bull] do have a young driver team, at least we're all led to believe that that is to bring on young drivers, it's good for them to actually put that method to work.
"He'll come in and he'll have a great car next year, a lot of people will be 'damn, I wish that I had that seat' - I'm sure a lot of people will be saying that!
"I'm not one of those because I have a good car, so I feel like next year I'll have even a stronger chance [of being successful].
"But really happy for him and I hope that he's able to handle the pressure, which is going to be a lot of pressure for any youngster that goes into a top team like that. But I'm sure he'll be fine."
Asked how he himself handled the pressure of his first season in a top car, Hamilton added: "When I came into it I had already had that pressure for a long time as I'd been a part of McLaren for a long time and every year I felt like I had to win. I had a huge amount of belief in myself, everyone told me I was going to be a lot slower than Fernando but I knew they were wrong. I came in and I attacked and the first race was one of the best races I ever had in Formula 1 - or at least the first corner was!
"But he [Ricciardo]'s done a lot of work already to prepare himself, he's fit enough, he's got the experience, so I think it will just be a natural progression into a faster, better car."