F1 mid-season stories to follow: Ricciardo, Ferrari, Mercedes

After 12 enthralling races, Formula One is taking four weeks off.

Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the drivers' standings over Sebastian Vettel to 24 points by winning in Hungary on Sunday, and he will already be thinking about enhancing that advantage at Spa-Francorchamps next month.

But what is worth keeping an eye on in the meantime in F1®?

We've picked out some key storylines to follow until the action resumes in Belgium.

ROCKY RED BULL-RICCIARDO RELATIONSHIP

Daniel Ricciardo said he would "have something soon" with regards to news on his future in June, while Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed it would be sorted "pretty quickly" ahead of the German Grand Prix, but there has still been no official announcement.

The Australian produced a sensational drive at the Hungaroring, overcoming the frustration of failing to get out of Q2 and starting 12th to finish fourth.

Red Bull need to tie Ricciardo down soon or they could lose one of the best drivers on the grid. If they leave it until the start of the second half of the season, they will have a race against time to get him locked in for 2019.

FERRARI MANOEUVERING

Ricciardo admitted this month his options were "pretty limited" following what he perceived as a lack of interest from Ferrari and Mercedes, and the latter have since secured Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for 2019.

But with his negotiations with Red Bull continuing to drag on, Ferarri's interest could be reignited.

However, the Scuderia have been heavily linked with a move for Charles Leclerc, who has impressed in his debut season at Sauber with five points finishes, including a high of sixth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The break presents Ferrari with a great chance to finalise their set-up for the 2019 season.

MERCEDES AND BOTTAS BICKERING?

Bottas did not take kindly to being branded "the perfect wingman" by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Finn keeping Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at bay was key to Hamilton extending his lead at the summit of the drivers' standings, but that proved scant consolation as a pair of collisions saw him slip from second to fifth.

Reports claimed Bottas had demanded a meeting with Wolff, but the driver issued a statement denying that was the case and assured he feels "on equal terms" with Hamilton.

With Bottas on his worst winless run since joining Mercedes, relationships at the Silver Arrows will need to be managed closely. Perhaps the break can provide a much-needed cooling-off period.

FORCE INDIA FUTURE

It was announced ahead of the race at the Hungaroring that Force India had entered administration, with debts reportedly reaching $A280 million.

The administrators announced they will "assess options to secure the future of the team", so an interesting period will no doubt ensue.

Could we soon see a new face in F1® at one of the top mid-ranking teams?

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