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Vettel 2018 move ‘not on the table right now’ for Mercedes

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says the team is not currently considering a move for Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for the 2018 season, although he could not rule the German out as an option for next year.

Mercedes currently races with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in F1, the latter having joined the team at the start of the season on a one-year contract following world champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement.

Bottas has made an impressive start to life with Mercedes, winning his fourth race for the team, but his seat is one of the most attractive on the grid.

Vettel is one of the biggest-name drivers out of contract at the end of the year, and currently leads the drivers’ championship by 25 points from Hamilton following his third victory of the season in Monaco last weekend.

Speaking to Press Association, Wolff said that a move for Vettel is not currently on Mercedes’ radar, but added that there are a number of drivers who would be under consideration.

“Taking Sebastian out of the equation at this stage would be silly, but equally it is not on the table right now,” Wolff said.

“I don’t see a reason why Sebastian should leave a team that probably have an equal package with us at the moment.

“‘He would not be the only one to look at. We have our young drivers that are developing well and I like both of the Red Bull drivers.

“When the time comes to assess I think there could be up to 10 drivers we would look at more closely.”

However, Wolff said that if Bottas were to continue his upward trajectory and progression with Mercedes from the early part of the season, the team would have no need to alter its line-up.

“If the season were to continue like it was now, with Valtteri’s performance ramping up all the time and him being an important and well-performing part of the team, I don’t see a reason for change.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”