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2018 F1

Of course, I hope to stay at Mercedes – Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas says it is still “too early” to talk about the possible extension of his contract.

After Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement, Mercedes signed the Finn only for 2017 and there have been rumours Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel could move to the German team to replace him.

However, team management and Lewis Hamilton have in recent days hailed the new dynamic within Mercedes, raising the potential of a 2018 contract for Bottas.

“Of course I hope to stay at Mercedes,” Italy’s Sky broadcaster quotes the 27-year-old as saying.

“But it’s still too early to talk about it. I’m thinking about doing well day by day, race by race so I’m focusing on the present,” Bottas explained.

“If I do well in the future then it will be downhill.”

Bottas, however, agrees that his relationship with Hamilton is on track.

“We will get to know each other better during the season, because before this year I didn’t know Lewis well,” he said.

“We are definitely very different. I like to stay in a calm environment, at home with my family. I care very much about my privacy, while Lewis is more social and good around people.

“But we have a very professional relationship and respect, but at the same time we want to beat each other on the track. We accept this and can work together well.

“I think there’s a great team spirit,” he added.

As for Mercedes’ 2017 season, Bottas said he is happy about how the team fought back in Canada after a more difficult outing in Monaco.

“The season is still very long,” he said, “but the main thing was to be back after Monaco where Ferrari was clearly quicker than us.

“We improved a lot after Monaco, making good progress and finding a better setup and also with the tyres.

“We’re expecting a very close fight in the championship, so every little progress is very important.”

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