Valtteri Bottas: 2019 has been my best year ever in F1
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Valtteri Bottas says he expects contract discussions with Mercedes to start over the ‘next month or so’ as the Finn looks to keep his seat at the seven-time world champions in 2022.
There’s been much speculation surrounding the Mercedes 2022 lineup, with Lewis Hamilton and Bottas both opting for a one-year deal with the seven-time world champions in 2021, with the ever-growing presence of George Russell, who is also out of contract with Williams.
Russell has been linked with a seat at Mercedes as his three-year deal comes to an end with the Oxford-based team after impression deputising for Hamilton with the reigning champions in 2019.
Hamilton and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff have both admitted they want to start contract talks by the August summer break, but Bottas seems to have been left in limbo for his 2022 plans.
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“We haven’t yet talked about anything, because this is being a pretty demanding championship and we know how much it matters to be able to work in peace, let’s say, when you can focus on the main thing, that is performance,” said Bottas.
“But that time will come, for sure, it hasn’t been yet, but for sure time flies, especially as we’re soon going to go to triple headers.
“So I would imagine that, naturally, over the next month or so you need to start to speak and I know from previous experiences that the sooner you can sort things out, the better for everyone. It will come soon, but not yet.”
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Bottas has had the worst start to his Mercedes career in the five years alongside Hamilton, with two retirements and yet to finish better than P3.
Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Bottas conceded that his “mental strength has been tested” amid the “tricky start” of the season – though vowed the setbacks will not affect his approach.
“It’s all about how you bounce back from those and how you, move forward because you know the losers’ option is to give up,” he said. “And it’s not something I’m going to do.
“I’m still keeping very strong, strong mentally and knowing that it’s a long, long season ahead and for sure many good battles to come and, hopefully, many wins.
“I have full belief in myself and for us as a team that we still have time to do good things.”
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