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Ferrari's Vettel guarded over Mercedes switch

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Championship leader Sebastian Vettel played coy on Thursday when tackled over suggestions that he is considering a switch from Ferrari to Mercedes next year.

The four-time champion avoided giving an answer after it was put to him that Italian sources had claimed he was already in talks with the champions.

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Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

Speaking at a scheduled news conference ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Vettel said he was only concerned with leading Ferrari’s challenge this year.

"Is it coming from Italy?" he asked in response to one question. "I don’t know... Maybe you asked the Italians?

"They seem to know more than I do. I think the situation is clear. My main focus is on this year…

"We find ourselves in a very good position and that’s what we want to keep. Everything else is not that important."

Vettel was in a laid-back mood, joking with home hero Fernando Alonso of McLaren who was sitting alongside him.

Asked about his prospects for success in this weekend’s contest, he was similarly cagey.

"I think we are in a much better position this year, than previous years, but it’s still fairly early.

"This will be an important race. People bring some bits, but if you look at the last 10 years, it’s not anymore a fixed date where you bring a new car. Top teams tend to bring stuff nearly every race.

"Mercedes have had a phenomenal run the past few years and they’re still the ones to beat. If you look race by race, and overall, they’ve been dominant and it’s difficult to beat that, but we’re doing our best.”

After two wins in the opening four races, Vettel leads the championship ahead of three-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by 13 points.

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