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Red Bull to open Ricciardo F1 contract talks early in new season

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Red Bull plans to begin negotiations with Daniel Ricciardo over a new Formula 1 contract early in the new season, according to team boss Christian Horner.

Five-time grand prix winner Ricciardo enters the final year of his contract with Red Bull in 2018, and has been linked with moves away to rivals Mercedes and Ferrari for the following season.

Red Bull has made clear it intends to keep Ricciardo for 2019 and beyond to partner Max Verstappen, who penned a new long-term deal with the team in October.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Horner said that while he did not wish to begin talks too early after a lengthy season, talks would begin early in 2018.

“We’ve just come through a long hard season, so the last thing we’re going to be doing is getting into the depths of contract discussions,” Horner explained.

“But I think early in the new year, once we’ve seen how the car’s performing, how things are panning out, then it’s our priority to make sure that we retain Daniel in the team until at least 2020.

“It’s a different scenario for Daniel. It’s the first time he’s effectively a free agent.

“It’s also a critical time in his career, he’s 28 years of age. This next step is going to be crucial for him.

“We just want to make sure we give him the right car to be able to deliver his potential.”

Ricciardo has taken all five of his F1 wins with Red Bull, having joined the team in 2014 following Mark Webber’s retirement.

The majority of Ricciardo’s racing career has been spent under the energy drink giant’s motorsport umbrella, enjoying backing in Formula Renault 3.5 before stepping up to F1.

With Verstappen, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel all committed to long-term deals and world champion Lewis Hamilton expected to extend his Mercedes deal, Ricciardo appears to be the highest-profile driver on the market for 2019.

Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

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Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.