New Mercedes deal locks down Bottas until 2020

HOCKENHEIM • Valtteri Bottas has signed a new deal with Mercedes that could see him stay for two more years, the Formula One world champions announced at the German Grand Prix yesterday.

The announcement comes a day after Mercedes confirmed four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton would be with the team until the end of 2020.

The manufacturer said in a statement that the 28-year-old Finn was confirmed for 2019 with an option for 2020. Team boss Toto Wolff said: “Valtteri’s performances have been excellent this season and, if not for our mistakes and his misfortune, he could be leading the drivers’ championship at the moment.

“When we took the decision in favour of Valtteri for 2019, it wasn’t just about his undoubted speed and work ethic, but also a question of character.

“His relationship with the team, including Lewis, is open and trusting. Those are the ingredients you need when you’re fighting strong rivals in both championships.”

Bottas is currently fifth in the championship, 59 points behind second-placed Hamilton, who has won three races but is still eight points behind leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

Bottas is winless this yearbut has finished second four times. He said: “This year, I have been able to make a good step forward – and I believe that there is still more to come.

“The team knows how I am performing, and this is a great sign of confidence in me and my driving.

“It’s good to have the future clear for everybody.”

The announcement of Bottas’ new deal also ends any lingering hope of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo racing for Mercedes next season.

The Australian is set to start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid due to engine penalties.

The governing FIA announced yesterday that Red Bull had changed the MGU-K (kinetic motor generator unit), energy store and control electronics on his car.

All the changes breach the regulations governing how many elements a driver can use during a season and trigger automatic penalties.

Ricciardo has won two races this year and is fourth overall in the championship but 65 points behind Vettel at the halfway point.

REUTERS

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