LEWIS HAMILTON will be partnered alongside Valtteri Bottas for a second season after Mercedes confirmed yesterday that the Finnish driver has been retained for next year.
The 28-year-old Finn agreed a one-year deal, which allows Mercedes to keep their options open with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both contracted at Red Bull until the end of 2018.
Hamilton’s deal with Mercedes also expires at the end of next year, but the Englishman is expected to sign a new long-term contract.
Bottas, drafted in by Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s decision to walk away from the sport only five days after he won the championship, has steadily impressed in his first year at the marque.
The cool-headed Finn also provides the team with much-needed stability following three years of bitter infighting between Hamilton and Rosberg.
“We gave Valtteri a big challenge this year by joining the team at the 11th hour, stepping up to the forefront of F1 and pairing with the sport’s best driver as his teammate,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
“With that in mind, his results have been probably even more impressive.”