In Brief

F1: Max Verstappen ‘not bothered’ by Mercedes and Ferrari speculation

Lewis Hamilton is nominated for Sports Personality of the Year

Speculation doesn’t affect Max

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen isn’t bothered by speculation about his future in Formula 1. 

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to Mercedes or Ferrari in 2021, but he says he is only focussed on performing well for his current team.

Speaking to German publication Sport Bild, Verstappen said: “I know the rumours and the speculation, but it really doesn’t affect me at all. 

“I know what I have and at the end of the day I know what I have to do - drive as fast as I can. That’s what I enjoy. 

“Whatever comes from the outside doesn’t bother me at all.”

Battle for third place

The 2019 F1 season concludes this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have secured the top two spots in the drivers’ championship so the battle for third place will be a major focus at Yas Marina Circuit. 

Verstappen’s victory at the Brazilian GP on 17 November moved him to third in the drivers’ standings. He has 260 points while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has 249.

With an 11-point advantage over Leclerc, Verstappen can seal third spot if he finishes first or second in Abu Dhabi. 

Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix starts at 1.10pm (GMT) and is live on Sky Sports. 

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Horner: Gasly could return

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Pierre Gasly could one day return to the senior team despite being demoted back to Toro Rosso. 

Rookie Alex Albon, who replaced Gasly mid-season, has been confirmed as Verstappen’s team-mate for 2020. However, Horner revealed that the door remains open for Frenchman Gasly in the future.

Horner said: “He has a new contract for 2020 and therefore the chance to recommend himself for Red Bull again.”

Lewis nominated for SPOTY

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been nominated for the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award.

The six-time F1 world champion is included on the six-person shortlist along with Team GB athletes Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, England cricketer Ben Stokes, England footballer Raheem Sterling and Welsh rugby union star Alun Wyn Jones.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey announced Hamilton’s nomination for the 2019 award. The British driver won in 2014 and finished second place in 2007, 2008 and 2018. 

SPOTY 2019 will be held on Sunday 15 December in Aberdeen and voting will be open to the public. The programme on BBC One will start at 7pm.  

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