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Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull are in stalemate over a potential contract beyond 2018 for the Australian driver.

Max Verstappen’s deal through 2020 caught Ricciardo by surprise, and he is now hinting that he is open to talks with Mercedes and Ferrari about 2019.

“I very much doubt I will decide anything in the coming months,” he said at the 2017 finale in Abu Dhabi.

“First I want to know more about who will have the best car in 2019. I’m not going to pretend that I’m smarter than everyone and have every option at my disposal, but I just think there’s enough time,” Ricciardo added.

He said that as well as Red Bull, he is eyeing “two other teams” for 2019.

“The most important thing next year is to stay at a high level so that the interest in me also remains high,” said Ricciardo.

“Wherever I sign, it’s unlikely it will be a one-year contract,” he said. “Perhaps it is that team that will have me at the peak of my career, so that’s why I want to make the most of it and not rush.”

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko was also asked about Ricciardo’s situation in Abu Dhabi, saying negotiations will take place at some point in the future.

“It was important for us to extend the contract with Max,” he told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, “and now we will negotiate with Daniel. He is our preferred candidate but we have alternatives.”

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