Mercedes Signs Valtteri Bottas For Another Season

Another piece of the puzzle for next year's Formula One grid has taken its place as Mercedes has confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will stick with the team for another season.

The Finnish driver's contract locks in the team's lineup for the second year running, with his multiple-champion teammate Lewis Hamilton entering the last season of a three-year contract signed at the end of 2015. After that, it's anyone's guess as to who Mercedes will sign moving forward, and what its star drivers will do.

Bottas came in from Williams this season to take Nico Rosberg's place after the German driver shockingly announced his retirement, with his world title in hand and nothing left to prove. Bottas has won two grands prix so far this season, placing him third in the standings behind Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, and helping cement the team's lead in the constructors' championship.

Best of all, from the team's perspective, he's apparently gelled well with Hamilton – something that Rosberg never managed to do.

“For our team, the bonus factors are the respect and sportsmanship that have grown between our two drivers. The chemistry and dynamic between Valtteri and Lewis work and are what we need to take the fight to our competitors,” said team principal Toto Wolff.

“We gave Valtteri a big challenge this year: joining the team at the eleventh hour, stepping up to the forefront of F1 and pairing with the sport’s best driver as his team-mate.” From the team's perspective, said Wolff, re-signing Bottas for another year was a “no-brainer for us.”

With Hamilton and Bottas confirmed at Mercedes, Vettel and Raikkonen committed at Ferrari, Ricciardo and Verstappen staying at Red Bull, and Grosjean and Magnussen sticking with Haas, the biggest shakeup will be at Renault where Carlos Sainz Jr. is slated to step in alongside Nico Hulkenberg as compensation for Toro Rosso ending its engine supply contract early.

That leaves Toro Rosso, Williams, and Sauber each with two seats open, one seat still available at Force India (alongside Esteban Ocon) and another McLaren, which is expected to keep Stoffel Vandoorne but awaits Fernando Alonso's decision now that it's switching to Renault power.

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