Mercedes have been negotiating contract details with their drivers and while it seemed like all the contract talk had taken a back seat in this rigorous and closely fought season, the Mercedes management have finally woken up and made the announcements.
It was Hamilton’s turn yesterday, when Mercedes announced a 2 year extension for the Brit in one of the best contracts in F1 history.
Hamilton was thrilled to be part of the Mercedes family for 2 more years and expressed his gratitude towards the entire team.
With Hamilton’s announcement, the rumour mill started churning big time, as Bottas’s extension wasn’t announced, and a lot of talk was around if the Finn would get an extension.
Mercedes have now gone onto provide official communication of Bottas’s new contract which will be 1 year extension, with an option to extend it by one more year.
Bottas was extremely pleased to accept the new contract and finally put all the Ricciardo to Mercedes rumours to rest.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 20, 2018
“It is 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.”
“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.”
“I enjoy working with the team, and also being team-mates with Lewis – we have a good relationship, honest and straightforward, and always aiming to get the right results for Mercedes.”
“We have a big battle on our hands right now, so it’s good to have the future clear for everybody – it means we can have a full focus on the championship fight.”
“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.” Bottas said.
Toto Wolff was all praise for Bottas and how he has conducted himself throughout the season despite being a little unlucky.
He went onto say that Bottas could be leading the driver’s championship had he not encountered so many unfortunate incidents.
“We are very pleased to extend Valtteri’s contract with Mercedes for another season at least – and to be able to confirm an unchanged driver line-up for 2019, ahead of our home race in Hockenheim.”
“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, without any politics at all.”
“Those are the ingredients you need when you’re fighting strong rivals in both championships and they mirror the values inside the team. I am very excited to keep Valtteri in the team and look forward to celebrating many more successes with him.” Wolff said.
With Mercedes going in with an unchanged line up for next season, it would be interesting to see how Red Bull and Ferrari react.