Valtteri Bottas has signed a new one-year contract with Mercedes to remain with the world champions until the end of 2018.
It means F1’s three leading teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – will all have unchanged driver line-ups next season.
The Finn has impressed since replacing retired world champion Nico Rosberg at the Silver Arrows in January, claiming two wins – his first in Formula 1 – and seven podium finishes.
The news means Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are set to remain team-mates for another year, but it leaves Mercedes with no drivers confirmed for 2019 – with the contract Hamilton signed in 2015 also running until the end of next season.
“I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family,” Bottas said.
“When the team hired me for the 2017 season, they took a leap of faith by putting their trust in my skills. This new contract for 2018 shows that I’ve earned that trust.
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“I’m happy to have celebrated my first race wins in a Silver Arrow. However, there’s always room for improvement and I still have not shown my full potential.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff 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 Russia 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.”
Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes stats Starts 13 Best grid position 1st (Bahrain, Austria) Best finish 1st (Russia, Austria) Podiums 9 Championship points 197 Qualy record v Hamilton 5-8 Race result v Hamilton 5-8
Bottas joined Mercedes following four seasons at Williams in which he had claimed nine podium finishes but never a race victory or pole position.
He broke his pole duck at April’s Bahrain GP before taking his first victory at the Russian GP two weeks later, when he held off the challenge of Sebastian Vettel.
When’s the Singapore GP on Sky?
The 28-year-old claimed his second victory of the season in Austria while he has also finished second on four occasions, including in Azerbaijan where he came from last and a lap down to finish behind Daniel Ricciardo.
With seven Grands Prix remaining, Bottas is third in the Drivers’ Championship, trailing leader Hamilton by 41 points and Vettel by 38.
Significantly, the dynamic between Bottas and Hamilton has remained harmonious so far, in stark contrast to the fractious relationship that developed between the Briton and Rosberg during their three years battling for the championship.
“He has earned his place and he will continue to grow,” Hamilton said earlier in the season.
“He has done a great job, it’s only his first year with the team. He will continue to go from strength to strength.
“Valtteri’s energy is helping create a great harmony. When he is at the factory, he brings a great energy which everyone loves and appreciates.”
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