MX23RW : Monday, September 28 04:33:27| >> :120:3632:3632:

Valtteri Bottas will again drive for Mercedes next season

Valtteri Bottas will again drive for Mercedes next season
© Reuters
Next season will mark Valtteri Bottas' fifth campaign with the Silver Arrows.

Valtteri Bottas has been retained by Mercedes for 2021.

The Finnish driver heads into this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone 30 points adrift of team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the world championship.

Next season will mark Bottas’ fifth campaign with the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton’s future beyond this year is yet to be confirmed but it is expected the six-time world champion will also stay with Mercedes.

Bottas, who won the opening round of the season in Austria, said: “I’m very happy to stay with Mercedes in 2021 and build on the success we’ve enjoyed together already.

“The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance.

“I’m confident that today I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, but I can always raise the bar.

“Ever since I fell in love with F1 as a kid it’s been my dream to one day become world champion.

“I’m in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well.”

Bottas was on course to finish second at last weekend’s British Grand Prix before a late puncture saw him drop out of the points and further behind Hamilton in the standings.

He added: “We’re in the middle of a shortened season and I want to give my absolute best in every single race we’ll go to this year.

“The puncture last weekend was a bit of a blow in my fight with Lewis, but I’m determined to come back strong this weekend on the same track.”

Bottas had widely been expected to be retained by Mercedes, particularly after their junior driver, George Russell confirmed he will be staying at Williams until the end of next season.

While not quite on Hamilton’s level, Bottas provides stability at Mercedes – with the all-conquering team on course for a remarkable seventh straight drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

Team principal Toto Wolff said: “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.”

Hamilton, our of contract in five months, said last week that he is yet to open formal discussions with Mercedes over a deal.

But it is highly unlikely he will leave a team which looks set to fire him to a record-equalling seventh title this term.

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