Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has tipped Carlos Sainz to beat Daniel Ricciardo to the now vacant seat at Ferrari.
With the unexpected news that Sebastian Vettel will no longer be a Ferrari driver at the end of the year, a vacancy at a top Formula 1 team has thrown the silly season wide open.
Whilst a long list of drivers are likely to be picking up their phones and calling Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, begging for the seat, realistically only a handful of drivers are in with a shot – we’ve already given our opinion on who those might be – but it seems Sainz and Ricciardo are the leading candidates.
Wading into the debate is Verstappen who insists he won’t be tossing his hat into the ring – he has a long Red Bull deal after all.
“The speculation was going on a bit, is he going to continue with Ferrari or not – well today it’s out, he’s not,” Verstappen said in a live Q&A on Puma’s Instagram, hosted by David Coulthard.
“I guess also very soon we’ll find out who the replacement is going to be.
“It’s definitely not me, I can tell you. I’m at Red Bull. I saw some questions coming along if I was going to Ferrari, but I’m not.
“It is what it is. Somebody else gets an opportunity to drive now for Ferrari, and of course it’s a great team, and I’m sure they will make the right decision about the next driver. Let’s see what’s going to happen there.”
Coulthard keen to press Verstappen asked whether he thought the seat would go to a driver “with an Italian sounding name [Ricciardo] or someone with a Spanish sounding name [Sainz].”
Verstappen replied: “I think it’s not going to be the Italian sounding name. Let’s see. At the end of the day, it’s just a guess. We’ll have to wait and see.”
According to an inside source, Sainz looks to be the leading candidate for the drive alongside Charles Leclerc.