Formula 1

Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen could be set for Red Bull exit for 2019 season

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Formula One fans have been treated to one of the best seasons in recent memory this year, as Ferrari and Mercedes go head-to-head with each other heading into the final few races.

Although the last few races have seen Lewis Hamilton edge away from Sebastian Vettel, the Grands Prix have been full of excitement and controversy.

The Singapore GP is the perfect example. Barely seconds gone and already Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Max Verstappen were out of the race due to a crash on the first corner.

A stunned Hamilton couldn't believe his luck as he drove home to take yet another Grand Prix win and pull further away from his German rival.

With just five races left, that come in Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Hamilton tops the standings on 281 points, with Vettel second on 247.

However, it shouldn't be considered a two-horse race just yet, as in third place is Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, who is only 25 points behind Vettel on 222.

With Mercedes comfortably pulling away from Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship, all eyes will be on the Drivers' Championship come the final few weeks.

Although it's been a breath of fresh air for F1 fans seeing such a close battle for the title between two drivers on different teams, some portion will be upset that Red Bull couldn't compete as well.

With two very talented drivers in Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, you would forgive someone for thinking they'd be in with a shot at the top.

AUTO-PRIX-JPN-F1

However, the Dutchman has crashed out too many times, and Ricciardo hasn't quite done enough to challenge Vettel and Hamilton.

Despite this, their talent hasn't gone unnoticed, and according to former motor racing correspondent for The Times Kevin Eason, Mercedes are 'half way' to signing Verstappen.

Reports emerged earlier this week that Mercedes and Ferrari both want the Dutchman, with them prepared to pay £20m-a-year for the 20-year-old to join them in 2019.

But, according to The Times, it's Mercedes who have the edge.

If this deal does go ahead, it raises the question, what happens to Bottas?

Mercedes surely won't have Verstappen in instead of Hamilton, so it will be the Finn who is replaced, and considering he's only racing on 12-month contracts, it's a cause for concern for the former Williams ace.

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Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen
Formula 1

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