Nico Hulkenberg jested about enjoying an ego boost when seeing his name linked with Red Bull over recent days, but dismissed claims that he could replace Pierre Gasly in 2020 as "fake news". Gasly himself went further, calling the reports "bulls***".
Gasly has taken time to get up to top speed in 2019, generally running off the pace of team-mate Max Verstappen, although he has closed the gap somewhat in recent races.
The Italian branch of motorsport.com suggested that Red Bull chief Dr Helmut Marko's famously short patience may have been tested, with Hulkenberg potentially the driver to benefit.
However, the Renault driver made it a trio of voices to dismiss the rumours, after Marko and Gasly had each given them short shrift.
"I think I heard it came from the Italian side," Hulkenberg said. "It was made up. It's basically fake news."
Asked how it felt to be linked to a front-running team, he joked: "Felt great for my ego!
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