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Ricciardo waiting for Hamilton to sign - Marko

2018-06-06 09:38

Image: JOHANNES EISELE / AFP

Daniel Ricciardo has put his Red Bull talks on hold until Lewis Hamilton signs a new deal at Mercedes.

That is not the claim of F1's speculative grapevine, but instead that of Dr Helmut Marko, a top official at Red Bull.

Red Bull wants Australian Ricciardo to stay, but he is being linked with Ferrari and Mercedes.

'Lewis is staying with us'

But Niki Lauda, Mercedes' team chairman, says Hamilton is definitely staying at Mercedes.

"Lewis is staying with us. It (the contract delay) is only about little things like promotion," he is quoted by Kronen Zeitung at an event at the Red Bull Ring.

READ: Ricciardo in no hurry to sign 2019 contract

But Marko says Ricciardo has told Red Bull that he is waiting for Hamilton.

"Ricciardo doesn't want to sign until Hamilton has signed. It's a bit strange. Hopefully it ends soon," he said.

'He can wait forever'

Lauda, a shrewd contract negotiator, said he thinks Ricciardo's tactic is akin to "blackmail".

"We have not made him (Ricciardo) an offer. So he can wait forever," Lauda insisted.

The good news for Red Bull is the form of both the 2018 car and Ricciardo, who is not ruling out a championship tilt.

Ricciardo could take some 'power unit' component change penalties this weekend in Canada, but Marko said the team will at least get a minor horse power boost.

"We're getting a Renault upgrade for Canada. We have an internal timetable that we want to have decisions on the engine and driver issues by the Austrian grand prix," Marko said.

After that, Red Bull needs to decide whether it will stay with Renault for 2019, or switch to Honda.

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