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2018 F1

Wolff names Sainz as Mercedes candidate

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Toto Wolff has named more candidates as speculation about the Mercedes driver lineup of the future ramps up.

Currently, both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ contracts expire at the end of the season.

Mercedes wants Hamilton to stay, but the British driver appears to be playing hardball with conditions including contract length and price.

Daniel Ricciardo has been linked with the seat, but more names are now emerging — including Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon and Renault driver Carlos Sainz.

“We want Hamilton to stay with us until 2030,” team boss Wolff is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

“But in formula one everything is possible and I don’t think you’d find a single driver who doesn’t want to become champion with Ferrari. But for now Lewis is with us and I hope at least until 2020,” he added.

Wolff referred to Mercedes junior Ocon, who currently drives for Force India, as his “little treasure”.

“I’ve known him for a long time and his progress from year to year is very visible,” he said.

“Another excellent driver is Carlos Sainz Jr, and if he shows up well next to Nico Hulkenberg then all of the teams will be interested in him,” Wolff added.

“We wanted to see Carlos with us and I even met with his father, but they are in the Red Bull programme,” he said. “But we maintain excellent relations.”

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