Finn earns a one-year extension with the F1 giants after gelling in his first season together with Britain’s world title race leader
MERCEDES have rewarded Valtteri Bottas with a new contract for next season and he will continue as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate.
The Finn, who was a last-minute replacement for Nico Rosberg, who retired five days after winning the world title, has been offered a one-year extension to his current deal.
Bottas has coped extremely well with replacing Rosberg and has struck up an excellent relationship with Hamilton, as the duo fight Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the world title.
Bottas, 28, has taken nine podiums in 13 races for the Silver Arrows, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it is a “no brainer” to keep him in the team for 2018.
He said: “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.
“With that in mind, his results have been probably even more impressive.
“There have been ups and downs – more ups, fewer downs – and some great highlights like his two race wins in Russian and Austria.
“Overall, the balance of his performances and his upward trajectory made it a no-brainer for us to continue with him into 2018.
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“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.”
Former Williams driver Bottas added: “I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes. Together, we continue to grow stronger day by day and the sky is the limit.
“I’ve been very impressed by the mentality, commitment and the team spirit this team holds.
“Partnering Lewis has also been really good, and I’m enjoying the respect we have and the will to push this team forward together.”
Mercedes will now start negotiations with Hamilton after the Brit declared that he wants to start contract talks early.
Hamilton is already under contract until the end of 2018 but wants to discuss a three-year mega deal, worth around £120million.
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