McLaren has terminated Daniel Ricciardo's contract a year earlier than expected after agreeing a settlement payout with the Australian. The former Red Bull Racing driver confirmed that the decision was mutual after agreeing that the union, after almost two seasons together, was not working.

Sebastian Vettel, a former teammate of Ricciardo, has blamed McLaren for failing to get the best out of the Australian. The four-time world champion, who is retiring at the end of the season, is certain Ricciardo's natural talent will again "shine through" if he remains in the sport beyond 2022.

Ricciardo left Renault - now Alpine - to join McLaren in 2021, and it was expected to help both the driver and team get back to winning ways. The plan never materialised as Ricciardo failed to adapt to his new team with the sole highlight being the Australian's win at the Italian Grand Prix last season.

Vettel is no stranger to the challenges of adapting to new machinery, after facing his fair share of struggles previously at Ferrari and now with Aston Martin. The German racer also has first-hand knowledge of Ricciardo's talents having raced alongside him at Red Bull in 2014.

Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo was the surprise winner in Monza ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP

Vettel is certain the 33-year-old Australian still has plenty to offer, but feels McLaren missed a beat by not offering him a car that suited his driving style. It is widely believed that the Woking-based team tailored their cars to suit Norris, who is now the team's main priority.

"I think he's still one of the best drivers," Vettel said ahead of the race at Spa Francorchamps this weekend, as quoted on Fox Sports.

"I raced against him, I had the pleasure to race against him, and the not-so-pleasurable side of getting beaten by him years ago, and I still think he has very, very much to offer."

"I think, in this regard and I don't know the details, but I guess McLaren failed to extract the potential that he has. It's sad to see that he's been put in a difficult position, but I wish him all the best," he added.

Ricciardo has indicated that he is ready to walk away from the sport if he does not land a competitive drive for next season. McLaren, meanwhile, have already identified a replacement with Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri expected to partner Norris for 2023 and beyond.

Lando Norris
McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris David Merrett from Daventry, England, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons