Valtteri Bottas signs contract extension with Mercedes F1

By @saihoops on
Valtteri Bottas, Russian Grand Prix
Formula One - F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai, China - 7/4/17 - Mercedes Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas (L) of Finland arrives at his garage during the first practice session. Reuters / Aly Song

Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas has signed a new one-year contract to race for the German team in the 2018 Formula One season. The Finn earned a starting spot with Mercedes after reigning Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg retired at the end of the 2016 season.

Besides winning two races in his first year with the Silver Arrows, Bottas has finished an additional seven times on the podium for a total of 197 FIA World Championship points. With victories at Sochi Circuit and the Red Bull Ring, Bottas threatened to make the two-horse world championship race between teammate Lewis Hamilton (238 points) and Sebastian Vettel (235 points) into a three-way affair. 

Toto Wolff, executive director at Mercedes F1, previously emphasised on a wait-and-watch approach with Bottas, with regards to a contract extension. However, the Finn's impressive run has given the German team enough reason to give Bottas a permanent seat Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas to drive for Mercedes in 2018

“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,” Wolff said via a statement after re-signing Bottas. 

“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," Wolff added. 

Bottas and Mercedes are yet to commit beyond the 2018 season. “As a driver, I’ve been able to learn and grow massively, and we have already enjoyed some really good moments this season that I will never forget. 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," Bottas said on Wednesday. 

The 2017 Formula One season returns with the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Circuit this weekend. Nico Rosberg prevailed in last year's race, the first in Singapore since the inaugural race in 2008. Hamilton and Vettel will resume their rivalry for the Formula One World Championship.