Mercedes-AMG Petronas has reached an agreement with Valtteri Bottas over a one-year extension, with an option for a further year in 2020. With this move, Mercedes now has a complete driver line-up for the 2019 season.
Despite the option for a second year in 2020, Bottas is only assured a seat next season, which means Mercedes are basically keeping their options open in case a better/faster, or perhaps more marketable driver, like Daniel Ricciardo, becomes available.
This news comes just a day after Lewis Hamilton extended his contract with the team for another two years.
“It’s great news that I will be racing for Mercedes in 2019 and it is nice to announce it here in Hockenheim – not just the home race for Mercedes but also the circuit where I took my first ever single-seater wins back in 2007,” said Bottas.
“This year, with a full winter of preparation, I have been able to make a good step forward – and I believe that there is still more to come. We have not been so lucky in the races this year but the team knows how I am performing, and this is a great sign of confidence in me and my driving.”
Since joining Mercedes at the start of the 2017 season, Bottas has secured three Grand Prix wins and five pole position starts. Last year, he played a key role in helping his team win their fourth consecutive Constructors title.
“Obviously, my goal is to keep performing at a high level – and to make it a no-brainer for the team when it comes to deciding their plans for 2020 as well,” concluded the Finnish driver.
While Bottas finished 2017 as the third-best F1 driver in terms of points scored, he’s currently just fifth in the Driver Standings for 2018, trailing Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by 2 points, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by 12 points, his teammate Lewis Hamilton by 59 points and Sebastian Vettel by 67 points.