Who will be the number twos at Ferrari and Mercedes?

Confirmation of Lewis Hamilton’s new megabucks Mercedes contract keeps him with the German team until the end of 2020, with archrival Sebastian Vettel’s deal with Ferrari set to run for the same period the question now is: who will be their respective teammates?

Hamilton’s signature will now trigger a flurry of pen to paper moments as the Silly Season winds down and speculation becomes inked into reality

Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes all now have their top gun drivers locked in until 2020 in Vettel, Max Verstappen and Hamilton, who they share their garages with should be decided in the not too distant future.

Daniel Ricciardo looks a shoe-in to stay at Red Bull and admitted that Hamilton’s staying put had changed nothing for him, “I knew he was going to sign.”

On Thursday when speaking to journos at Hockenheim, Valtteri Bottas sounded confident about his prospects of keeping Hamilton company at Mercedes, “I hope quite soon there will be some news.”

“I’m pretty confident there will be, so it’s not that long to be sure everything is good. We’ve had some talks and things are moving forward,” added Bottas.

That leaves Ferrari with the oldest driver on the grid in 2007 F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and although the 38-year-old is enjoying a strong season, his chances of staying at Maranello beyond this season remain uncertain.

Sauber’s 20-year-old rookie Charles Leclerc, a Ferrari protege and last year’s F2 champion, is tipped to join Vettel next year — but the German downplayed the suggestion in the drivers’ press conference, “I don’t know Charles much. I know him a little bit through the programme.”

“Charles, one way or the other, will have a great career. He’s a great guy, he’s fast, he’s got everything, so yeah, definitely, he has no rush,” added the four times F1 world champion.

Vettel made no secret of who he really wants beside him next year, “I like Kimi. I think we get along. We have never any issue…I think the way we handle things is very similar, very straightforward, so I think it’s great to work with and great for the team, but it’s not my decision so we’ll see what happens.”

Ricciardo’s new deal with Red Bull should be confirmed before the summer break, but the smart money is on him staying with The Blues until the end of 2020 on a similar deal to Verstappen.

This would then allow Renault to turn Carlos Sainz’s loan deal with Red Bull into a permanent transfer to the French team for the Spanish driver.

With Renault a solid fourth in the championship, that closes down another desirable destination with knock-on effects elsewhere.

Both Esteban Ocon, the highly-rated Mercedes-backed driver, and Sergio Perez might have been part of a wider merry-go-round had Hamilton made a different decision.

As it is, they too appear short of options with Perez’s future looking more uncertain amid speculation that Lance Stroll could be set for a move from Williams to Force India bank-rolled by his billionaire father Lawrence Stroll.

Big Question: Who will be the number twos at Ferrari and Mercedes?