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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

Lewis Hamilton tight-lipped over singing debut to stay focused on Austrian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver is widely thought to be XNDA on Christina Aguilera's new album, while Ricciardo is close to agreeing new Red Bull deal

Lewis Hamilton is aiming to extend his championship lead this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix. Patrik Lundin / Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton is aiming to extend his championship lead this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix. Patrik Lundin / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton may be a secret singer on Christina Aguilera's latest album but the only track the Formula One world champion wanted to talk about on Thursday was the Austrian Grand Prix circuit.

The music world has been buzzing about the identity of the artist named only as "XNDA", who features in a duet with Aguilera in the song "Pipe" on her eighth studio album "Liberation".

Media reports have pointed to Hamilton, who has devoted much of his spare time to music for some years and is a friend of Aguilera, but the Mercedes-GP driver would not confirm anything when asked about it.

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"My sole goal right now and focus is fully Formula One," the Briton said, sidestepping the question.

The 33-year-old four-time world champion said he had also been asked about it at the previous race in France and nothing had changed.

"It's not really something I want to speak about, I'm here really to talk and focus solely on trying to win this championships and that's really where all my energy is at the moment," he said.

Pressed on whether that meant he was not denying it, Hamilton added: "As I said, I'm just here to ... I don't really know what to say."

Aguilera attended the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, where she sang at a concert.

The American singer has also kept XNDA's identity secret, saying in interviews only that she has been "dying for ev­eryone to find out as they're definitely multi-talented".

Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix is the ninth race of the season, with Hamilton leading Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the standings by 14 points.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo is close to signing a new two-year contract with Red Bull and commit to continuing his partnership with Max Verstappen in a new Honda-powered era for the team.

Australian Ricciardo, winner of seven races with Red Bull, told reporters this week that he expected to confirm a new deal "soon".

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said he felt that it was "getting closer."

Ricciardo said: "It's not over yet, but it will come. Soon. The time is not far away."

Ricciardo, 28, is out of contract at the end of this year and has been reviewing his options including Ferrari and Mercedes.

Those options appear to be unlikely, however, as Ferrari are strongly linked with a possible move to sign Monegasque Charles Leclerc as a replacement for Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes are expected to retain an unchanged line-up for 2019.