Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020

Mercedes confirm one-year contract extension for Bottas

2021 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas will continue to race for Mercedes in 2021, the team has announced.

Team principal Toto Wolff said “we’re seeing the strongest Valtteri we’ve ever seen this year – in terms of his on-track performance, but also physically and mentally.

“He is second in the championship, finished the last season in second and plays a very important part in our overall team performance.”

Mercedes is yet to confirm whether Lewis Hamilton will continue to drive for them next year. Wolff he and Bottas are “the strongest driver pairing in F1 today”.

“Signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future,” he added. “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.”

Bottas joined the team from Williams in 2017, following Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement after winning the title the previous season.

“The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance,” said Bottas. “I’m confident that today I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, but I can always raise the bar.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Why Mercedes prefer Hamilton and Bottas over Vettel or Russell for 2021
“Mercedes embraces the same philosophy: They always want to get better and are always hungry for more.

“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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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94 comments on “Mercedes confirm one-year contract extension for Bottas”

  1. Congratulations to the eighth world title, Lewis. :)

    1. Alternatively; Mercedes lets Bottas go, Max still locked in at RB, so congratulations on the eighth world title Lewis.

      1. Lol max wouldn’t beat hamilton only if hamilton went to red bull were max would have full preference

        1. For a person so passionate in fighting racism and inequality, you seem to have a lot of prejudice and hatred towards Verstappen.

          1. towards Verstappen

            Not just Verstappen, but also Vettel. Basically any guy that was Ricciardo’s teammate.
            And for a driver so likeable as Ricciardo, it’s weird to have such a toxic fan.
            We’re bound to see a lot of hateful comments against ‘people’s favorite’ Norris next year…

        2. The hate flows in this one !

          But yoking aside I think Lewis would get it MUCH harder then Bottas.

          1. would get it MUCH harder then Bottas

            LOL, mooi steenkolen Engels!

            But on a serious note, they should both move to Haas and then we get a true comparison because neither knows that car, nor engine. They won’t be winning races and championships though.

        3. As a Ricciardo fan as well it’s a shame to see his picture next to your toxic comments on this site

    2. Bottas is the perfect wingman. He has always been contracted to make Lewis the great one.

    3. Easiest F1 titles ever! At this point Hamilton can only be regarded as a two/three times ‘champion’ at best… Even the true greats like Senna and Schumacher would be embarrassed!

  2. As much as I’d like someone else to be given a go, if I were in Toto’s shoes I can see why it makes sense. I doubt anyone will be particularly excited by this though.

    1. @bernasaurus Agreed. I remember being excited when TW had re-signed Nico Rosberg in 2016 for two more years of actual competition within the team, and tense competition at that. A true rivalry. Has there even been one moment of the same, between LH and VB?

      1. @robbie The only reasoin there was any competition between Rosberg and Hamilton was because Hamilton had loads more troubles with the car. Lots of missed quail’s, gearboxes, engine’s broken, issues with the start system (designed to help Rosberg). While Rosberg had much less issues.

        When both had a trouble free weekend, Hamilton would win 3 to 1. Hardly “competition”.

        These days it’s more Bottas who’s suffering the bad luck. If both have a trouble free weekend, Hamilton beats Bottas 3:1. But now Bottas has more issues so the ratio is a lot worse.

        1. @f1osaurus Your usual blah blah blah and doesn’t change what I said about VB giving us not one moment of actual rivalry alongside LH, no matter what excuses you want to make.

          1. @robbie The usual truth yeah. I get that you don;t like truth, but we cannot change facts.

            Also again the lack of understanding. If Hamilton would be on the back foot due to losing points on technical issues, Bottas would have exactly the same “rivalry”.

          2. @f1osaurus Far from it, LH and VB don’t have the friendship that went back to their karting days and that became an intense rivalry that had far more to do with just one or the other’s technical issues. Plus NR actually qualified higher than LH more than VB does and when he didn’t, was closer, and they spent a lot of races duking it out starting 1-2. To say the rivalry would be exactly the same is ridiculous. NR took the gloves off and went at it. VB never has and never will.

          3. @robbie Really it’s a lovely bridge. It would be perfect for you. Would people lie? No they wouldn’t. So how about it?

    2. Finishing second in a Mercedes is not really much to brag about.

  3. This is what perfection looks like.

    Total risk averse, reach optimum performance, then keep at it without changing a thing.

    1. The very definition of boring!

  4. As much as this saddens me I’m not sure they really had much choice. I think Mercedes wanted George Russell in that second seat but Williams weren’t prepared to let him go.

    It’s a shame as Bottas just doesn’t have the balls or ability to mount a challenge for the world championship

    1. i think Mercedes definitely doesn’t want Russel. why would they? they do indeed have the best driver lineup ; one that is guaranteed to give them both titles every year.

      Mercedes is very far ahead in terms of performance now. but next year who knows. they wouldn’t want their season to be the trainwreck that the 2007 season was for McLaren

      1. I can understand keeping Bottas at the moment as he doesn’t rock the boat and that Mercedes is so good he’ll bring it home in 2nd place more often than not. The fact is that Lewis isn’t getting any younger and Mercedes need a new up and coming world champion and Bottas has proven again and again that he just can’t handle the pressure when it gets tough. Mercedes even admitted themselves they were making enquiries about Russell if I’m not mistaken.

        The rules are locked in for next year so it’s going to be another nailed on championship for Mercedes. To be be honest I don’t think you can compare thisercedes team with that Mclaren team – in fact I don’t think you can really compare this Mercedes team against any team that’s gone before

    2. I don’t like the way they keep renewing him one year at a time. They can keep him on a tight lead that way – like Barichello at ferrari with schumacher.

      It can’t be very satisfying for hamilton to keep winning championships like this. It would be great to see him have some real competition. Dull, safe choice for merc.

      1. So who are the exciting choices? Barring any unexpected turn of events Russell goes there next year, learns from Ham, and then if things go according ton plan, lead the team once Ham moves on.

    3. Having Russell in the second seat would be great for fans.
      It would be good for British fans if once Hamilton retires or does not win anymore that Russell wins 9 or 10 championships in a row.

    4. The weird thing is that Russel said he couldn’t move to Mercedes since he already signed a Williams contract.

      Then Claire Williams said that she would not stand in the way of such a huge opportunity for Russel. Just like she didn’t stand in the way for Bottas when he got the same opportunity.

      So which is it?

      Perhaps Toto Wolff was wondering if Ocon would be any good, but he’s not really lighting up the board at Renault.

      Once Russel’s contract expires at Williams I do see him moving to Mercedes.

      I doubt Russel would be as toxic as Rosberg. So the team would be fine.

  5. No surprises there, no need for change when you’re dominating. To be honest, apart from Russell (who is tied into a Williams contract anyway) not sure they’re are any options available that would do better than Bottas

  6. So putting aside Bottas; who was on the market anyway? Sign a driver that Ferrari; and it seems a number of other teams didn’t want?

  7. Like an old saying goes, disappointed but not surprised.

  8. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    6th August 2020, 13:00

    Expected.
    Hopefully RBR signs Perez..

  9. So by the end of next season, the Bottas-Hamilton line up that happened as a ‘last minute emergency solution’ after Rosberg suddenly retired, will have spent more seasons together in Mercedes than the ‘original intended’ Rosberg-Hamilton line up.

    Nothing is more permanent than a temporary solution…

    1. ‘Like’ and upvote for the quote :)

  10. So Vettel wins his next title with Aston Martin Racing Point Stroll.

    1. If Vettel wins another championship I shall change my name to Shamette and wear a miniskirt to Silverstone.

    2. No, Stroll outraces Vettel and thereby boosts his standing having beaten a 4 times world champion.

  11. Never thought I would miss Rosberg, but Bottas is not pushing Lewis as Nico did and he’s going no-where on his title fights.

    Interesting that it’s only one year for Bottas, while Lewis will surely get an extension for more, even though he’s 5 years older… I hope George Russel is being groomed for Valteri’s seat, as we as fans really need a fresh challenge inside Merc.

    1. Well according to Russell he has been getting driving tips from Ham, and it would be sensible to put Russell with Ham before he moves on himself.

      1. Absolutely Ian. The knowledge Russell would pick up from someone like Lewis would be invaluable – I just hope it happens.

    2. Agree with this. Nico wasn’t as quick as Lewis but he was shrewd enough to realise that to win a world championship he’d have to get his hands dirty and hope that he gets that bit of luck you need.

      Bottas doesn’t seem to understand this as evidenced by his lack of aggression at turn 1 last weekend. He seems to think that he’ll beat Lewis using his pace which is just wrong.

      1. overall, Rosberg wasn’t as quick as hamilton (though in qualifying in 2014 he may have been quicker) but i’m sure he was quicker than Bottas is. Bottas has been really underwhelming this year.

        1. indeed, as a driver, Rosberg was in-between Hamilton and Bottas, but closer to Bottas IMO. WHat made the difference is that he had a certain stubbornness and many times he forced himself to be way more aggressive than his usual style. And this is what made him better than his skills alone, stay closer to Lewis, and which (under the perfect circumstances) ultimately allowed him to pounce on the single chance he had to become WDC.

        2. @frood19 Bottas has had the bad luck that Hamilton’s car has been solid. While he himself has had some unlucky issues. The “dashboard induced false start” might have been his own doing, but still.

          Rosberg only looked “good” when Hamilton had issues. Like the start of 2016 where Hamilton had technical issues in 3 of the first 4 races. So yeah the Rosberg wins those. Plus again Spa when Hamilton had to start from the back to get back all the broken engine parts.

          In this case, Hamilton is the better driver, but Bottas also carries the brunt of the bad luck.

        3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          6th August 2020, 17:02

          Really underwhelming? He beat Hamilton first time out and this weekend pace wise looked right there with him. He did all he needed in the 2nd race and his pace was reasonable. The only underwhelming race really was hungary. Bottas really does seem to get judged harshly because he’s against one of the greatest. I think there will not be many on the grid that can do better against Hamilton than Bottas, especially to begin with.

          Rosberg had more speed than Bottas, But he made more mistakes. The tention between Rosberg and Hamilton also caused incidents which just don’t ocur any more. In that regard, Bottas is more consistent and reliabe than Rosberg. They are better and worse in different areas. I would probably say the team is stronger as it is now, but will agree with anyone that thinks Rosberg was quicker. However, I do think Hamilton has only got stronger since losing too Rosberg which probably won’t make it easy for Bottas. If Bottas leaves, I think we may find that Bottas is better than we realise, and Hamilton is just now a level above everyone. That could be a possibliity. Losing to Hamilton really seems to make people rate Bottas low, which i don’t get. With Bottas finishing 2nd here last time out, It would just take him 2 wins to get back into the lead of the championship which wouldn’t have been impossible. But the worse luck always seems to go to him each season (admittedly not the main factor of losing out to Hamilton though)

          1. @thegianthogweed Agreed. Bottas is probably one of the most underrated drivers right now.

      2. ^you meam cheat

    3. @gechichan All of his Mercedes-deals have been for a single year only, so I’m not surprised in this regard as I didn’t expect it to be any longer. Whether George Russell would be able to provide a greater challenge against Lewis is another matter. BTW, The age difference isn’t 5 years, but 4 years and seven+ months, but yes, still applies to the extension-part.

      1. Whether George Russell would be able to provide a greater challenge against Lewis is another matter.

        @jerejj Absolutely, there’s no guarantee, but it would be something new and exciting. And I have no doubt in my mind that Russel can be just as good as Norris, LeClerc or even Max. Ofcourse, beating Lewis requires an even higher level of skill and mental strenght, but who knows…

  12. Fully expected for a while.

  13. I feel sorry for Bottas, Mercedes treat him like dirt. They cannot be another driver in the history of Formula One who has had so many one year contract. It really is a case of Bottas We are keeping you on until someone better comes along, This can do no good for his performance in the long run.

    1. @the-edge

      I agree this can’t be good for his mindset. To me what they’re saying “do not cause problems where you are gone next year”. I think that is really unfortunate because Bottas seems to be mature and understand that if he can’t beat Hamilton he has to support him.

      I also think Bottas is much better than he’s given credit for, at least in the comments I see here. He’s probably still better than half the drivers on the grid.

      1. He’s good, but he’s not as good as Rosberg and tbh that’s a step down for Mercedes. Hope to be proven wrong though this weekend when he doesn’t lift this time.

    2. That’s the way F1 has always been. Ferrari and RBR have always used a number 2 ( multy 21). Mercedes in theory have two number ones until the cream rises to the top.

    3. @the-edge Well he started out as a temporary quick fix. Mercedes had Ocon waiting and now Russel. I guess Ocon didn’t impress enough so they seem to be waiting for Russel to become available after 2021.

  14. Compliant wingman Valtteri Bottas gets a reward. His biggest weakness, if I am correct, is race starts and maintaining pace in the first half of the race on high fuel loads. Unless that is corrected, he is no match for Lewis Hamilton.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      6th August 2020, 17:18

      Bottas’s pace issues are rarely at the start of races. It is usually tyre related near the end where he got overtaken a lot by Ferraris and red bulls in 2018 especially. IMO, he’s usually strong at the start. I also disagree that race starts are a weakness. Are we just thinking of 2 races ago where he messed up? He usually is fine at his starts. I remember at the beggining of one year (2019 or 2018) where Hamilton a couple of times had weak starts that Bottas jumped him. I also think that other than one or two times, he’s usually remained 1st after completing the first lap whenever he gets pole. 2 of his wins were also from getting very good starts from 3rd. Russia 2017 and Japan 2019.

      I think his main problem is doing long stints and having consistent pace during them. He can sometimes do this very well, so there is a bit of a consistency problem he has, though i don’t think he was as bad as he was in this regard in 2018. Multiple races in the 2nd half of that year, he would finish 5th or 6th with most of then overtaking him on the last 10 laps due to his pace falling right off. More recently, he seems to have mostly got over that. he may have had it in the british grand prix, but given 5 drivers had a puncture as well as serious graining, i think we can accept it this time.

  15. Frankly Mercedes does not care as long as they have a 1-2. Mercedes is so competitive that they may even consider doing a formation finish like Ferrari and Ford.

    1. they would have a big positive boost if they let some oranje ‘spice’ to the mix. I know it is a delusion that Max could be loaned for 1 year to Merc. But that would be Mega for them and all F1. Sure 1-2 and big focus on racing, on-track battles. No team orders. Last weekend all the talk was pre-race, qualy pace and in the race we saw them for ~4 laps. all the cameras were on midfield scraps.
      well, square fuddy-daddies they are and will be. diminishing the value of the product by beating the ‘dead’ horse and bull once again and again and again without internal competition… and wear funny hats once

      1. ‘We cannot help the opposition. We have been winning races for years and we don’t propose to stop now.’ Mercedes Benz.

        1. they would win anyway and get loads of positive attention :)

  16. 3rd F1 2nd place world championship . Good luck!

  17. Makes sense. I’m disappointed that Bottas wants to carve out a career like Rubens though. Makes me respect Rosberg even more to be honest.

    1. @john-h Rosberg ran away scared of the competition after winning one lucky title. At least Bottas keeps trying.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        6th August 2020, 17:25

        I think Bottas’s only hope is for Hamilton to have worse luck (not a good start as the bad luck has one to him) and for him to get better still in qualifying. If Bottas starts ahead, his pace especially last time out looked to be enough that he will have kept hamilton behind. But Hamilton likely will have done a different strategy. The other thing Bottas could hope for will be for this year to be Hamilton’s peak, or a year where he starts going downhill a little. Then there is next year too. This is unlikely, but there will be some stage where Hamilton won’t be at his very best and Bottas may have a slightly better chance then.

        1. @thegianthogweed Well we saw it with Rosberg in 2016. The season started with 3 out of 4 races where Hamilton had issues (punted off by Bottas in Bahrain, missed quali completely in China, missed Q3 in Russia). So Rosberg got handed a big lead already from the start.

          When the car worked Hamilton won a load of races in a row, but it’s not easy to get back from so many points lost.

          Then the engine mapping issue, starting from the back in Spa to replace all the broken engine parts and then an engine blew up in Malaysia.

          Rosberg needed all that drama at Hamilton’s side to be ahead by a mere 5 points.

          Bottas is staying a lot closer to Hamilton on merit. The trouble is that indeed Bottas is having the worst luck of the two. Especially 2018 was bad, but this year is also not off to a good start.

    2. @john-h
      I think even Rubens rebeled and left Ferrari a year before his contract ended in 2005.
      Bottas though seems to be comfortable to be Hamilton’s wingman for another 20 years.

      1. @tifoso1989 Bottas is not Hamilton’s wingman though. He’s allowed to fight for the win and he takes the win too when he can.

        1. @f1osaurus
          I didn’t say he is not allowed to win, he just can’t match Hamilton.

          1. @tifoso1989 A wingman is just there to help the leader. So that’s a massive difference. Rubens wasn’t allowed to win while Bottas is.

  18. so my #Max2Merc2021 died in less than a day :( booooring!
    It would be a… ah. They will drive around to their podiums, Lewis, Max without a fight and some third guy
    It is a last year of the regulation. Development freeze, 0.5% chance that RB can do anything next year, probably all in on 2022 car. Give us at least some entertainment at the top. Lewis for the title with one hand on the wheel, fighting world injustice with the other (not a dig, he is doing many good things, praise for that).
    Seriously, best thing for all F1 would be Max vs Lewis in the same team. Blockbuster stuff, Liberty media can compensate RB for one year…
    I shudder the thought of 2022 RB car being half-baked distant follower of Mercedes and Max wasting more years :(
    Not a Verstappen fan, but he is the only one at the moment that could really challenge Lewis.

    1. Discounting norris, sainz and such who are still unproven cause they were never in a top car, leclerc is certainly good enough to challenge hamilton, just look at monza 2019 for an example, so he has at least 2 rivals who proved to be good with a top car, possibly more, what’s needed is an even car.

  19. I would imagine re-signing of Bottas would be one of Hamilton’s conditions to renew his own contract…

    1. Why? Who is available that would cause Ham to leave?

      1. Vettel? Russell?

        1. So you think Ham wouldnt sign if they signed a driver rejected by Ferrari, who Ham can beat even when the Ferrari is the best race car on the day? Or someone Ham is currently offering advice to on his driving? Who you going to suggest next would frighten him off signing. Giovinazzi?

        2. Because he

          1. doesn’t want Vettel crashing into him?

      2. Verstappen and leclerc, that will give him a challenge, possibly a lost title.

  20. How uninspiring but entirely predictable.

  21. This reminds me of last weekend – desperate hope that something unexpected happens but then normality resumes and everyone breathes a collective, if slightly disappointed, sigh.

  22. I really like Bottas and think he’s a good driver, but I really doubt his ability to beat Hamilton. Then again I doubted Rosberg had it in him until he started playing a little feisty and less compliant to the team game, and as soon as Rosberg stopped seeing Hamilton as his team mate and his opponent and treated him as such, the fight was much tighter. Bottas I just don’t think is willing to do that and so I find it unlikely he’ll ever beat Hamilton.

    His only chance is shocking reliability or beat Hamilton on Saturdays and take advantage of the ‘lead car gets priority’ thing. Otherwise he’s a solid wingman that’s not willing to rock the boat. If we ever get Bottas 4.0 he needs to be a bit of a nasty piece of work to win.

  23. So as we are at Silverstone an announcement over the weekend that Ham has signed?

  24. Finishing second in a Mercedes is not really that much to brag about.

  25. Good news, and he deserves it.

    Thinking of the 2021 grid, even if every single driver had been available to sign, there’s only one driver I’d back to 100% do better than Bottas against Hamilton, and that’s Verstappen. Leclerc, I’d go 80% he’d do better. And of course Alonso would, but only if he’s still got it after a few years away and that’s by no means certain.

    The rest… Vettel’s a busted flush. Ricciardo is more aggressive and far better in wheel-to-wheel situations, but I think Bottas has superior pure pace. Russell is good but still raw, and I’ve seen nothing yet to suggest he’d be better. Ocon is probably good but not that good. Sainz isn’t elite level and though he maybe will be one day, neither is Norris.

    I know a lot of people would love to see Hamilton up against a driver of the same ability, and I would too, but such a driver just isn’t available. Bottas is in the next tier down, and that’s about as close as we’re going to get…

    1. @neilosjames I can go along with much of what you have said here. Well, I guess my first thought about VB’s extension wasn’t ‘good news’ but just ‘no surprise.’

      As to FA, of course he wouldn’t have been even a scintilla of thought for Merc, but I would just say I expect him to be absolutely on it, and I don’t think we will notice his age. Of course I mean in 2022. Next year the car will likely shade his talent, although he’s still going to be a blast to watch.

      1. I agree about alonso, think he’s a driver who can maximize the car.

        I was thinking though, you’ve always been a big critic of schumacher (who I consider very similar to alonso in maximizing a car and in constance), so was wondering, at what level did you consider him, as in comparable to what driver?

  26. As expected, and further makes a mockery of Wolff’s ‘loyalty’ comment.

    The only reason for the one-year contracts is obviously to keep him on a short leash and on his best behaviour.

    1. @balue Makes more sense that they are hoping to find a driver that would be better than Bottas still.

      Ocon didn’t prove to be that big of a success afterall, so it’s good they kept going with Bottas back then. Now they have given Russel a 3 year contract to prove himself at Williams. He seems more stable and less toxic, so make sense they are prepared to take him on after that

      1. @f1osaurus No, both Wolff and Lauda have stated time and again that what’s important when it comes to drivers is ‘team dynamics’. It’s even why Bottas was chosen in the first place. And since he was such a perfect fit, there was absolutely no reason could not have been given a multiple year contract, especially when Wolff even says it’s all about loyalty when it comes to drivers at Mercedes.

        1. @balue Don’t forget they had re-signed Nico for two more years after his WDC. So they were fine with that ‘team dynamic.’

          1. @robbie It was obviously the feud between Hamilton and Rosberg that caused them to get the most placid driver out there, and have ‘team dynamics’ as their mantra.

  27. Why isnt there the same favor to put some one in the Redbull to challenge Max…..oh I get it the F1 coomunity wants Max un opposed so they can proclaiming greatest ever for coming 2nd……after breaking almost every record in F1 theres some driver somewhere who can come and expose lewis and beat him……they YERN for the Mclaren Button Witmarsh Days …the team got destroyed, lost a billion dollars, lost all its historic sponsors and threw away 2 championships,but yea Lewis was made miserable and didnt win

  28. Great for Merc and Valtteri. A sound business decision, that is according to team philosophy. I hope he got compensated for the one-year deal.

  29. @spactus Yeah Whitmarsh favored Button and really destroyed that team. Hamilton did win in both seasons though. Especially in 2012 he won plenty. Indeed and he could have won a lot more if the car and his colleagues hadn’t let him down so much.

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