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2018 F1

Vettel and Verstappen rejected Mercedes offer – Marko

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The 2018 season has begun with uncertainty hanging over the heads of two key top drivers’ futures.

Lewis Hamilton is still yet to agree a 2019 contract with Mercedes, and at the same time Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is potentially on the move.

Dr Helmut Marko, a Red Bull official, thinks the holdup at Mercedes is because Toto Wolff tried to negotiate with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.

“This was Toto’s mistake,” he told Sport Bild.

“He made an attempt to lure Sebastian Vettel and then Max Verstappen but both rejected the offer. This prompted Lewis to raise his price,” said Marko.

It is believed Hamilton is currently asking Mercedes for an incredible $60 million a year.

“We would never pay such money,” Marko insisted.

“That’s why we created a junior team. We gave a chance to Vettel, Riccardo, Verstappen instead of paying huge sums to Hamilton or Alonso. The contracts with our drivers are only 20 pages,” he added.

Red Bull may now struggle to hang onto Australian Ricciardo, though, with the latest rumour suggesting he may even have signed a Ferrari ‘pre-agreement’.

When asked about his future, Ricciardo said in Bahrain: “You’re not going to hear much until Europe.”

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