2017 F1

Bottas would accept ‘number 2’ role

Valtteri Bottas says he is prepared to work as the de-facto ‘number 2′ at Mercedes — but not yet.

For the moment, the Finn is still technically in the hunt to beat Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to the title, and patiently waiting for a new Mercedes contract.

But boss Toto Wolff at Monza confirmed that a deal is coming.

“It’s a no-brainer for the team to continue with Valtteri,” he said at Monza.

“We’re very happy with him. He had very good moments like Sochi and more difficult races like Spa, but stability is important.”

Also important for Mercedes, however, is the 2017 drivers’ title, with Wolff acknowledging that Ferrari’s approach of making Vettel the de-facto ‘number 1’ is a big disadvantage.

So when asked if he will support teammate Hamilton’s championship push once Wolff makes the call, Bottas told Brazil’s Globo: “Yes and no.

“As a driver it is very difficult to accept. But I’m also a team member and we work as a team.

“So if at a point in the championship it happens and I am asked to do something like that, the answer is yes. Although I hope it doesn’t happen.

“But let me explain something,” Bottas continued. “There is a way to avoid this situation.

“It’s all in my hands,” he said. “Right now I am fighting for the title, so if I qualify in front of Lewis and I’m ahead in the race, our cars are exactly the same.

“Like I said, it’s up to me.”

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