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Williams plays down Ferrari link for Bottas

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Williams is not taking seriously reports star driver Valtteri Bottas is looking to replace Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen next year.

The seat occupied by fellow Finn Raikkonen, who struggled at the Maranello team last year, is technically open for 2016 due to the existence of a contract ‘option’.

“If it goes badly and I don’t sign it then I don’t sign it,” Raikkonen said at the recent Jerez test.

When asked about the potential vacancy, Bottas – who last year marked himself out as a champion of the future with his six podiums – answered last week: “I don’t know anything about Kimi’s contract.

“All I know is that I want to be in the quickest car available. That’s all I can say,” he told F1’s official website.

When faced with the comments, which might be interpreted as Bottas putting Williams on notice that he is eyeing a move elsewhere, deputy boss Claire Williams said she thinks her driver was “taken out of context”.

“We were the team that brought him into formula one and he feels hugely comfortable within our team,” she told British broadcaster Sky.

“Of course, he’s a racing driver and wants to have the fastest car. I think those comments were taken out of context.

“At the moment we’re providing him with a competitive race car that finished the season probably the closest to the Mercedes on the grid, so why wouldn’t he want to stay with us?” added Williams.

“I spend a lot of time with him and I talk to him a lot and I know that where he wants to be at the moment is Williams.” (GMM)

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