Mercedes and Wolff keeping a watchful eye on Sainz


Toto Wolff has a mental short list of F1 drivers he regularly monitors, and Renault's Carlos Sainz appears to be in his selection.

Theoretically, Mercedes has no drivers under contract for 2019, but all signs point to Lewis Hamilton extended his stay at the Silver Arrows outfit any day now, while Valtteri Bottas' fate likely won't be decided until mid-summer.

"We want Hamilton to stay with us until 2030," Wolff is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

"But in Formula 1 everything is possible and I don't think you'd find a single driver who doesn't want to become champion with Ferrari. But for now Lewis is with us and I hope at least until 2020," he added.

Wolff also referred to Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon as a man he is keeping in his line of sight, calling the Force India driver his "little treasure".

"I've known him for a long time and his progress from year to year is very visible," he said.

But Carlos Sainz could perhaps one day find himself racing for the German squad, although his ongoing contract with Red Bull, which has loaned its driver to Renault for 2018, would preclude the Spaniard from jumping ship.

"Another excellent driver is Carlos Sainz Jr, and if he shows up well next to Nico Hulkenberg then all of the teams will be interested in him.

"We wanted to see Carlos with us and I even met with his father, but they are in the Red Bull programme," he said. "But we maintain excellent relations."

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