Valtteri Bottas will continue to race with Mercedes in Formula 1 next year after putting pen to paper on a contract extension beyond the end of the 2017 season.
Formally announced by Mercedes on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Bottas’ confirmation has been expected for some time, with the finer details of his contract being sewn up recently.
Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams back in January following world champion Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from F1, slotting in alongside Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn claimed his maiden grand prix victory in Russia before taking a second win in Austria, as well as scoring a further seven podium finishes this year.
While the contract extension comes as little surprise, Bottas was nevertheless delighted to make things official with Mercedes for 2018.
“I am honored and proud to continue to work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family,” Bottas said.
“Together, we continue to grow stronger day by day, and by keeping up our hard work I believe the sky is the limit.
“Since joining the team in January, I’ve enjoyed every day working with them. The welcome and the support from every team member and all the fans has been invaluable.
“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.
“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. 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. I will continue to work hard on and off the track, to further improve my driving, get even better results and show that putting their trust in me was the right decision.
“I want to thank all the board members, the people at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as the race team and all the fans for their support and trust. It means a lot to me.”
Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff added: “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 teammate. 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.
“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.”
The news marks another added piece of the driver market puzzle for 2018, as well as fuelling the fire for a hectic 2019 silly season when both Mercedes seats will be up for grabs.