Sebastian Vettel has brushed off rumours he could retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2019 season, saying they had been made up.

Vettel, 31, has not won a world championship since 2013, finishing as runner-up to Lewis Hamilton for each of the past two years.

The German’s wait for a fifth title currently looks set to continue in 2019 after a difficult start to the year for Ferrari has left Vettel over 50 points behind early points leader Hamilton.

Rumours emerged following last month’s Monaco Grand Prix that Vettel was considering retiring from F1 at the end of the 2019 season despite having one year to run on his Ferrari contract.

Asked about the rumours, Vettel explained that he “never said anything like it”.

“I don’t know where it has come from,” he said.

“I think I can stop whenever I want and the team can probably kick me out whenever they want, but I am very happy with the team and I hope the team is happy with myself.

“I am very hungry and I have a mission here to win. That is the only thing that really matters to me, to win with Ferrari and that is what I am working for.

“I don’t know who, well ultimately, made it up. I don’t think I ever said anything that would lead to that conclusion.

“I am not really bothered. I understand that some part of your job is to try and not make things up, but try and come up with something interesting.

“But it doesn’t bother me. Do what you want, and I will do what I want."