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Ricciardo looks to April for Red Bull contract talks

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB14
© XPB 

Daniel Ricciardo says that he expects to begin contract talks with Red Bull in April.

The 28-year-old is out of contract at the end of the current season. His team mate Max Verstappen has already completed an extension of his contract through to 2020.

The lack of any discussions regarding his future has led to speculation that the team has decided to shape itself around the Dutch prodigy rather than retain Ricciardo.

But the Australian dismissed such talk, saying it had been entirely his choice not to start contract talks before now.

“Nothing has really developed since the end of the season," he told Sky Sports News this week. "I switched off from Formula 1.

"I think realistically around April things will start to be spoken," he added.

Ricciardo is hoping that by delaying talks until after the start of the season, he may end up holding the whip hand.

"After a few races, hopefully I win the first few and I can have a powerful say in what I do," he suggested.

Ricciardo is aware that two key race seats might be opening up at the end of the current season.

Kimi Raikkonen's current one-year extension at Ferrari ends in November. Lewis Hamilton is currently negotiating a new deal with Mercedes, while Valtteri Bottas' future at Brackley is also up in the air.

"We will look at how he is developing this year and will decide from the summer on," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff when asked about Bottas.

"For Lewis, an extension is just a matter of detail," he added. "I assume that we will continue together."

But Wolff sparked speculation that he was interested in signing Ricciardo to race alongside Hamilton in 2019.

"Red Bull has a great combination of drivers," he said this week. He described Ricciardo as "a sunny boy who can drive really well."

And Ricciardo has also signalled his interest in a possible switch to Mercedes.

"I would like to go against Lewis at some point," he admitted last month. "Irrespective of team situation, that would be fun.”

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