RACE DEBRIEF

    The Formula 1 rumour mill is in overdrive this weekend, with just four races remaining before we enter the summer break. While some drivers appear to be fighting for their F1 futures, others are seemingly looking to make the next step in their careers. So what gossip has got the paddock talking? We've done some digging...

    Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton

    If Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda’s comments this weekend are anything to go by, it looks like Bottas and Hamilton will definitely be lining up for the Silver Arrows once more in 2019.

    "I guarantee that in the coming year Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will drive for Mercedes," he told broadcaster ORF in Austria on Saturday. "That is settled." No official announcement as it stands, though...

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    Kimi Raikkonen

    Raikkonen, out of contract at Ferrari at the end of this season, refused to bite when questioned on rumours linking him to a move back to former team McLaren in Thursday's press conference…

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    Charles Leclerc

    ...but if the BBC are to be believed, Raikkonen will not be at Ferrari next year. They have reported that Charles Leclerc, currently starring in his debut F1 season with Sauber, has agreed, but not signed, a two-year deal to replace the Finn at the Scuderia.

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Much has been said of Ricciardo’s future this year, with Max Verstappen revealing on Thursday that the chances of him staying at Red Bull are “very big”.

    And Team Principal Christian Horner backed up that view on Saturday. “The conversations with Daniel are going very well,” he told Channel 4. “I sat down with him the other day, and asked him if he wants to be here next year. His answer was 'resolutely yes'.”

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    Carlos Sainz

    With Ricciardo set to continue his partnership with Verstappen in 2019, Sainz, who is under contract at Red Bull, looks like he’ll remain ‘on loan’ at Renault next season. Horner, this time speaking to Sky Sports, pretty much confirmed that move on Saturday...

    Fernando Alonso

    Alonso’s future is another hot topic at the moment. Will he stay with McLaren? Or will he focus on that Triple Crown quest? He recently told Spain’s Cadena Cope radio that he is unsure if he will race in F1 next year, while the BBC report that McLaren’s priority is to tie him down to a new deal.

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    Romain Grosjean

    Grosjean has had a stuttering season so far but Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner said this week that the Frenchman – out of contract at the end of the season - still has four races to ‘make it good’ before the American team make decisions about their 2019 driver line-up.

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    Brendon Hartley

    Hartley hit back at rumours last month linking him with a Toro Rosso exit by insisting “I know what my contract says”. The Kiwi had his say after the Press Association reported that Toro Rosso had asked McLaren if they could take their reserve driver - Lando Norris - on loan in place of Hartley. Those rumours have gone quiet since...

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    Robert Kubica

    Kubica is also part of the driver merry-go-around for 2019 and it has emerged his management have started discussions with teams about a race seat. The Williams’ reserve driver revealed on Friday that there are race seat options for him next year beyond the struggling Grove team.

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