Formula One: Valtteri Bottas Staying Put At Mercedes In 2018

Reflecting on his first season with Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas admits he hoped for more than just two Formula One grand prix victories in 2017.

The Finn currently sits third in the drivers' championship and has an outside shot of being this season's runner-up to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Bottas needs to win in Abu Dhabi with Sebastian Vettel finishing ninth or lower.

The former Williams driver claimed wins in Russia and Austria -- defeating Hamilton's main championship rival Vettel on both occasions. His strong start to life at Mercedes resulted in a one-year contract extension, but since the summer break, he has struggled considerably for form.

Bottas will remain with the reigning champions for a second season in 2018 and the Finn is under no illusions that he needs to up his game if he is to remain with the German manufacturer beyond next season.

"Only two wins unfortunately," Bottas told The National. "I was definitely hoping for more like I said, but I am glad I have proven myself and the team signed me up again for next year. Next year's going to be the same thing. I need to again prove if I am going to stay with the team for a long time.

"I always knew it was going to be a challenge as Lewis is such a good driver and he is one of the best ever in F1 It is always a challenge to be ahead of him. I couldn't beat him this year but I am working on my weaknesses."

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Bottas acknowledges that the threat of Ferrari and the renaissance of Red Bull in recent races has made Mercedes' life tougher than in previous seasons.

"The season has been tough. There have been many races that Ferrari have had the upperhand, and even lately Red Bull have been really strong so it has definitely not been like the last three years. It has been tough and it is only going to get tougher."

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