An insider rumor was heard during the preliminary week of the Hungarian GP that Valtteri Bottas was strongly in the process of signing a new contract with Mercedes.
A new impetus to the debate was brought by Williams' stable on Thursday's announcement that it intended to hold on to its rider duo George Russell-Nicholas Latifi this season. As Mercedes’s junior driver, Russell would have been the most likely replacement candidate for Bottas.
Bottas commented to Motorsport on Friday that negotiations are still ongoing, but the situation seems favorable for the Finnish driver.
- I can say that we have started talking about it. I think we woke up that time is actually going really fast in these three race tubes, and the schedule is pretty intense for all of us. But of course nothing has been signed yet, but I think things are moving in the right direction, Bottas pondered.
- The main thing, as I said last week, is to focus on the championship. This season, there are big things as attainable, so focus on it, and I'm sure that things are progressing yes in the end. Of course, on the driver’s side, if things get dragged on, it’s not nice. But we’ve only run two races, so that’s OK. There is no panic or hurry, he continued.
Read more: Insider sources: Valtteri Bottas to continue with Mercedes next season - agreement details agreed
Lewis Hamilton spoke in a warm tone about his teammate Bottas, noting that this is seasonally better both at the wheel and outside of the car.
- Every year I see Valtteri continuing to grow as a driver, but also as a team player and a man. I think we’ll see a better fit, more focused driver this year, and that’s awesome. I still enjoy working with him, and I would say the respect between us continues to grow, the British driver described.
The contract of Bottas, who ran Mercedes for the 2017 season, is usually only sealed closer to Bottas' birthdays on 28 August.
There have been rumors among the F1 people that the deal might be released on Britain’s first GP weekend.
F1 World Cup situation
World Championship for Drivers:
1) Bottas 43
2) Hamilton 37
3) Norris 26
4) Leclerc 18, 5) Perez 16, 6) Verstappen 15, 7) Sainz Jr. 13, 8) Albon 12, 9) Gasly 6, 10) Stroll 6, 11) Ocon 4, 12) Ricciardo 4, 13) Giovinazzi 2, 14) Kvjat 1, 15) Vettel 1.
Manufacturers' World Series:
1) Mercedes 80
2) McLaren 39
3) Red Bull 27
4) Racing Point 22, 5) Ferrari 19, 6) Renault 8, 7) AlphaTauri 7, 8) Alfa Romeo 2.