Valtteri Bottas will stay in Formula One next season with the Mercedes team, clearing the way for remaining teamed with six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team announced Bottas’ contract extension in a statement Thursday that also hinted Hamilton’s contract extension is coming soon.
Mercedes has won the past six championships and is unbeaten in F1 this season. Bottas won the season opener, and Hamilton captured victories in the past three races. He enters Sunday’s race at Silverstone with a 30-point lead on Bottas for the championship.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said in the release: “We are very excited that Valtteri will stay with the team for at least one more season. We’re seeing the strongest Valtteri we’ve ever seen this year – in terms of his on-track performance, but also physically and mentally. He is second in the championship, finished the last season in P2 and plays a very important part in our overall team performance.
“I’m confident that we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 today and signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future. Valtteri is a hard-working, straightforward guy who has a good relationship with the entire team – including his team-mate, which is not a given when both drivers are fighting for the championship.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to raise the bar together with us this year and in 2021.”
Hamilton remains in a contract year and said in preseason testing that talks had been put on hold to focus on the season. Wolff’s comments reaffirm, though, that Hamilton is expected to return with Bottas next year.
Hamilton signed his most recent deal in June 2018, halfway through the final season of his previous contract. Though he had been linked to Ferrari, the team has filled its 2021 lineup and also has struggled mightily this year.
🚨 Breaking 🚨
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) August 6, 2020
Bottas joined the team in 2017 when Nico Rosberg retired as the reigning series champion. The Finnish driver has eight victories in 66 starts.
Here’s the release: