Mercedes never entered talks with Verstappen, says Lauda

Niki Lauda has told Red Bull they overpaid on Max Verstappen's new contract as Mercedes never entered negotiations with the Dutchman.

Reports earlier this year claimed that 20-year-old Verstappen, one of Formula One's brightest young talents, was in talks over a switch to the constructors' champions.

However, Verstappen signed a bumper new contract with Red Bull through to the end of 2020 in October, with suggestions that links to Mercedes increased the value of his deal.

Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, denied that an approach was ever made, though.

Speaking to Servus TV, he said: "We never made a proposal to Max.

"I have a good relationship with [Red Bull advisor] Helmut Marko as we often talk and fly together.

"We talked about Verstappen and I told him that they could have saved a lot of money, since we never entered negotiations with him."

Verstappen finished sixth in this year's drivers' standings, 32 points adrift of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and 195 off champion and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.

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