EXCLUSIVE: Mercedes consider Daniel Ricciardo as a long-term replacement for Lewis Hamilton – who is only under contract until 2023 – and could bring the Australian in as a reserve driver for next season

Mercedes are planning for a future without Lewis Hamilton — with Daniel Ricciardo under consideration to replace him in 2024. Hamilton is only signed up to the Silver Arrows until the end of next season, a few weeks short of his 39th birthday. The seven-time world champion has not stated exactly when he will retire but Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is not leaving succession planning to chance, which is where Sportsmail understands Ricciardo comes into the reckoning. The Australian, 33, has been axed by McLaren for next season after a dip in form. One idea under consideration by Mercedes is to enlist Ricciardo as a reserve driver for next season and have him ready to take over Hamilton’s race seat, if needed, and partner George Russell in 2024.

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