Mercedes not considering Ricciardo for 2019

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has claimed his team is not considering any new drivers for next season.

Out of contract at the end of the year with Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo has been linked with moves to the world championship winning squad which currently fields Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Aside from its current duo, Mercedes also has Esteban Ocon under contract, the Frenchman part of the team’s development program.

According to Wolff, the team is therefore not looking outside of its current lot for additional driving talent.

“We are not looking at drivers outside of Mercedes at the moment because, first of all, we need to give our support to our two guys, that’s the priority,” Wolff said.

“It’s like if you’re happy with your wife, you don’t look elsewhere! We are with our two wives, or three (with Ocon), and we are not looking at that.

“Give us a few more races; start the European season properly, go to Canada, and then the intense July, and I will have a better view.”

Outside of Formula 1, Mercedes is also backing George Russell, who this season has already tasted success in Formula 2.

The young Englishman is also slated to test for the Anglo-German squad at Barcelona next week.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Wolff said of the drivers he currently has available.

“We are very satisfied with how Valtteri has been going these days and Lewis we don’t need to talk about — he’s the best of the current drivers in my opinion and then you have these kids growing up like Ocon and George. I am optimistic about the future Mercedes line-up.”

Bottas currently holds only a one year deal with Mercedes, which expires at the end of this season, with Hamilton too out of contract.

Discussions between the four-time world champion and the team have been ongoing for a number of months.

It had initially been hoped to have a new deal inked by the time the season started in Australia, but that has still not happened.

“We haven’t talked now for a few days or few weeks because it was so intense in getting our act together with the team and all our priority has been concentrated on that, and this is what we do.

“We are very well aligned in what we expect from each other in the future and it’s just finding the time to sit down.”

Hamilton currently heads the drivers’ championship by four points over Sebastian Vettel, while Ricciardo lies fifth in the standings.

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