Daniel Ricciardo’s contract saga has continued into F1’s summer break. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Daniel Ricciardo’s contract saga has continued into F1’s summer break. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Ricciardo holds out past Red Bull contract deadline

DANIEL Ricciardo's contract saga has continued into F1's summer break, despite the hiatus long being considered as Red Bull's unofficial deadline for the Australian to sign.

The 29-year-old, who is off-contract at the end of the season, surprised fans by remaining coy on his future with Red Bull after completing the Hungarian Grand Prix on Monday morning.

Many expected Ricciardo to announce he had resigned after the race, but instead he said he "honestly doesn't know" when there will be an update on his contract.

"I test Tuesday actually, then I'll escape Wednesday and head far away from race cars for a few weeks," Ricciardo told Sky Sports' Paul di Resta on Monday morning.

When asked about when to expect an update, Ricciardo said: "Soon! I honestly still don't know, but probably over the break.

"When everybody's looking for something to talk about, maybe it'll happen then."

Ricciardo, who is off-contract at the end of the season, has surprised fans by remaining coy on his future with Red Bull on Monday morning. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Ricciardo, who is off-contract at the end of the season, has surprised fans by remaining coy on his future with Red Bull on Monday morning. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Earlier this year, team principal Christian Horner said the team "doesn't want to wait forever" for Ricciardo's signature and expected him to re-sign by Sunday.

"There should be a decision by the summer break at the latest," Horner told German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport in April.

Nonetheless, Ricciardo still looks almost certain to remain with Red Bull next year after Mercedes resigned Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to F1's most desired seats.

The only other rumoured alternative, Ferrari, is yet to confirm Kimi Raikkonen as Sebastian Vettel's teammate in 2019.

Team principal Christian Horner has said Red Bull “doesn’t want to wait forever” for Ricciardo’s signature. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Team principal Christian Horner has said Red Bull “doesn’t want to wait forever” for Ricciardo’s signature. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

However, talented youngster Charles Leclerc - who belongs to Ferrari's driver academy - is considered most likely to take the seat should Raikkonen not be retained.

That leaves Ricciardo with few options but to stay with Red Bull, who signed him to its junior team in 2008 before promoting him to its top seat in 2014 via a two-year stint at Toro Rosso.

Ricciardo has left Red Bull bosses sweating over his signature heading into the summer break after showing during the Hungarian Grand Prix why he's one of the field's most talented drivers.

Ricciardo delivered an overtaking masterclass at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday night. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Ricciardo delivered an overtaking masterclass at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday night. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The Aussie ace dropped as low as 16th on the opening lap of the race after Sauber's Marcus Ericsson clattered into his car's left-hand side heading into the first corner.

But Ricciardo persistently fought his way back through the field with a series of perfectly executed manoeuvres that saw regained him 12 places. He finished fourth.

Ricciardo remains fifth in the driver standings, 13 points ahead of his teammate Max Verstappen, who suffered a power unit failure.

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