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Red Bull ready to call back Sainz if Ricciardo talks fail

Daniel Ricciardo
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Red Bull will soon enter the thick of its contract negotiations with Daniel Ricciardo, but if talks fail the team has "good alternatives" according to Christian Horner.

Ricciardo has vowed to wait until the season gets underway to weigh his options for 2019.

The Aussie wants a clear view of how the Milton Keynes-based team's new RB14 will fare against its rivals, but Ricciardo will also be following developments at Mercedes, where Valtteri Bottas' seat with the Silver Arrows squad could be up for grabs if the Finn falls short of expectations.

Red Bull secured the future of Max Verstappen last year and Horner admits he would like nothing more than to extend Ricciardo's contract.

But if the 28-year-old and five-time Grand Prix winner ultimately decides to move on, the team will fall back on its plan B option.

"Our intention is to have him [Ricciardo] with us in the future," Horner told CNN.

"But if that isn't possible, we have other good alternatives. We have good drivers in the junior programme and although he's with Renault now, we still have Carlos Sainz under contract," he added.

Furthermore, it's a long and improbable shot, but Horner believes Lewis Hamilton might be an outside chance for a Red Bull seat.

"Lewis' contract also expires," he said. "It's hard to see him leaving Mercedes, but we never say never."

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