No talks with Verstappen, says Mercedes boss

The Dutchman, one of the hottest properties in the sport and on the front row for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2020.

Max Verstappen sits in his car during the second practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix.   -  AFP

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he has not spoken to Max Verstappen about a possible switch to his team amid speculation linking the 21-year-old Red Bull driver to the Formula One champions.

The Dutchman, one of the hottest properties in the sport and on the front row for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2020.

However German publication Auto, Motor und Sport recently quoted Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko expressing concern that Mercedes were lining up a bid for Verstappen if exit clauses were triggered.

“I havent spoken to Max,” said Wolff when asked about Markos comments.

“Id like to continue like we've always done it in the past, first to evaluate our current line up and discuss with the drivers and what their views are before really entering into a proper discussion with anybody else.”

Lewis Hamilton, on course for a sixth world championship this season, is under contract with Mercedes until the end of 2020.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas, winner of two races this year and 36 points behind Hamilton in the standings, has a one-year deal with an option for 2020.

Mercedes also have highly-rated 22-year-old French driver Esteban Ocon, currently without a seat, on their books.

Wolff told reporters at last weeks French Grand Prix that he was optimistic Ocon would be back in a Formula One car next year.

“Putting all that puzzle into place is something Id like to do over the next few months, over the summer,” he said on Saturday.

Verstappen refused to be drawn on any exit clauses in his contract.

Hamilton, sitting alongside the Red Bull driver in the post-qualifying press conference, said it was all news to him.

“I think the teams pretty happy with Valtteri and me, said the Briton. “I dont mind driving with you, he added to Verstappen. “Ill drive against whoever.”

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