Damon Hill has insisted that Daniel Ricciardo can still rediscover his career-best form for McLaren - but that he must do so soon.
The 1996 F1 World Champion cautioned against the damaging effect that age can have on F1 drivers, with the Aussie turning 33 later this year. As Hill attests to, it can quickly go south once you get into your mid-30s as an F1 driver.
"There were times in my racing career, mostly towards the end, it has to be said, where the magic the suddenly disappears," Hill stated on the F1 Nation Podcast.
"And you know, you can't work out what's going on. But you know, he's still quite young Danny [Ricciardo], so it's not like the talents disappeared. But definitely, we mentioned Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis [Hamilton] will be 38 by the time he stops.
"That was the age that Alan Prost retired, but I think after 33 the magic starts to disappear. A magic bit. And that's the magic bit - the young guys have the magic bit, which they don't even know they've got, you know, they just have gut instinct. And then you get this blend of experience and knowledge and that instinct."
As Hill explains, the age at which a racing driver begins to tail off career-wise vary much varies, with fitness and genetics both coming into play. Ricciardo is still only 32-year-old, so in theory at least, he has a long while to go before age factors into his driving ability.
"I mean, you can't make any firm rules about it. Because obviously fitness has an impact. And I'm sure that's there might be a doctor, maybe we can get to speak to someone on this show about you know, what happens to your physiology," Hill added.
"Actually, when you lose your faculties, you lose the things that you need to be a racing driver. I don't know what they are, but I can tell you that there's no two ways about it.
"It's going to go eventually, you can't keep going on forever."
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