Mercedes retain Bottas for 2021

Valtteri Bottas has re-signed with Mercedes for 2021 and his fifth year at the team, with boss Toto Wolff claiming the team has the strongest driver pairing in F1.

The Finn has scored eight victories in his time at the team and finished second in the championship last season in what was his best season at Mercedes.

He won this year’s season opener in Austria but finished out of the points last week at Silverstone thanks to a puncture, and sits second in the championship.

He said: “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.

“Mercedes embraces the same philosophy: They always want to get better and are always hungry for more.”

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After winning GP3 in 2011 and impressing for Williams in four seasons there, Bottas finished third in his first season at the Silver Arrows.

He struggled in 2018, finishing fifth and winless, but had a stronger 2019 which shored up his position as he took a career-high four wins.

Once Mercedes Junior George Russell was confirmed as staying at Williams for 2021, Bottas was the front-runner for the seat.

Despite some rumours that out-of-contract Sebastian Vettel would fit at the team, it looks like Bottas was the only driver considered by Mercedes.

He added: “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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, team boss Toto Wolff said: “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.”