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Valtteri Bottas Signs 1 Year Deal With Mercedes F1 Team For 2018 Season

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Valtteri Bottas has signed a new deal with Mercedes to stay with the world champions for at least the 2019 F1 season.

According to Mercedes, Bottas 'has made a significant step forward in performance and complements Lewis Hamilton as part of the strongest driver pairing in the sport today'.

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The Finn, signed 18 months ago as a replacement for Nico Rosberg following the then-world champion's shock retirement, will continue as Hamilton's team-mate for the 2019 season with an option for a further year in 2020.

Confirmation of Bottas' contract extension follows hot on the heels of Mercedes' announcement that Hamilton had signed a two-year extension.

Hamilton signs new Mercedes contract for 2019 and 2020

With both Mercedes seats secured, Daniel Ricciardo is expected to sign a new deal to stay at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen.

But there could still be movement at Ferrari where Charles Leclerc is poised to replace Kimi Raikkonen as Sebastian Vettel's team-mate.

Who do the top teams have signed up for 2019?

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari Sebastian Vettel and TBC
Red Bull Max Verstappen and TBC

Bottas is currently just fifth in the Drivers' Championship. But his season has been plagued by bad luck and his results have been an accurate representation of his performances.

"Valtteri's performances have been excellent this season and, if not for our mistakes and his misfortune, he could be leading the drivers' championship at the moment," said team boss Toto Wolff.

What now in the F1 driver market?

"When we took the decision in favour of Valtteri for 2019, it wasn't just about his undoubted speed and work ethic, but also a question of character. His relationship with the team, including Lewis, is open and trusting, without any politics at all."

In 2017, his first year at Mercedes after joining from Williams, Bottas scored over 300 points to finish only behind Hamilton and Vettel in the standings.

"This year, with a full winter of preparation, I have been able to make a good step forward - and I believe that there is still more to come," said Bottas, who has outqualified Hamilton four times already in 2018.

"We have not been so lucky in the races this year but the team knows how I am performing, and this is a great sign of confidence in me and my driving," said Bottas.

#̶A̶n̶n̶o̶u̶n̶c̶e̶B̶o̶t̶t̶a̶s̶! 🤔#BottasAnnounced! ✊ pic.twitter.com/Rmf2OFL6nq

— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 20, 2018

"I enjoy working with the team, and also being team-mates with Lewis - we have a goo relationship, honest an straightforward, and always aiming to get the right results for Mercedes."

The 'one-plus-one' nature of Bottas' new deal means the Finn is not yet assured of keeping his seat all the way to 2020 but he made clear: "My goal is to keep performing at a high level - and to make it a no-brainer for the team when it comes to deciding their plans for 2020 as well."

Wolff added: "I am very excited to keep Valtteri in the team and look forward to celebrating many more successes with him."

Watch the German GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton separated by just eight points in an unpredictable championship race. Sunday's race begins at 2.10pm. No Sky F1? No problem: Get a NOW TV pass!


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Source : http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/27993/11441817/valtteri-bottas-now-signed-up-to-mercedes-for-f1-2019

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