Daniel Ricciardo believes Max Verstappen would be a more popular World Champion than Lewis Hamilton in 2021, given that the Red Bull driver is fighting for his first F1 title.
The battle for the 2021 title remains tight with just six races remaining. Verstappen currently holds a six-point advantage over Hamilton following the Turkish Grand Prix, with the action set to resume next weekend at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Ricciardo, who drove alongside Verstappen at Red Bull from 2016 to 2018, wants to see the best driver come out on top, though he reckons the Dutchman winning would make for a more feel-good story.
"I think kind of, 'May the best man win,'" Ricciardo told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media, when asked which of the title contenders he hoped would come out on top.
"The rivalry they've had this year has been pretty awesome, as a fan. I think they've left it all out there. So from that point of view, I think they are where they are. I think it's fair at the moment, in terms of they are nip-and-tuck, so no preference.
"I think obviously people do like to see like a fresh face, so maybe Max is the more popular vote, because it would be a first title for him, and it's something new and exciting for everyone. So that's always like you've got that feel-good story."
Whoever comes out on top, Ricciardo hopes that things are decided on track.
"As long as no misfortune is involved, then I think the guy that wins is the one that's going to deserve it," he concluded.