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Azerbaijan GP

Bottas targets win races and to secure a “long term contract” with Mercedes

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Valtteri Bottas says he is balancing his ambitions to win races against his desire to secure a “long term contract” with Mercedes.

Having replaced the reigning champion Nico Rosberg this year, Bottas has impressed so far in 2017 and won his first grand prix in Sochi.

Now, ahead of this weekend’s race in Azerbaijan, the Finn says his winning ambitions remain on track.

“I love racing in Baku,” he told Italy’s Autosprint, “and I believe it is time for me to try to win again.”

However, Mercedes signed only a one-year deal for Bottas this year, so the 27-year-old said he is mindful that a big goal for 2017 is to secure a new deal.

“Winning is the first thing I think about when I race, but I know that the work for the team is what comes first. I want to be consistent and earn a long-term contract with Mercedes,” he explained.

“It will not be easy because Lewis (Hamilton) is very strong and Ferrari are very close to us, and even better on some occasions,” Bottas added.

For the moment, though, Mercedes seems happy with its choice to replace the suddenly-retired Rosberg.

“He is in a great position in the championship,” said team boss Toto Wolff. “It’s hard to believe that he only arrived in the team a short time ago.

“In seven grands prix, he has gone beyond all expectations,” he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He has a pole, a victory and has pushed Lewis on Saturdays and Sundays. He just needs to put it all together every weekend and I’m sure he will do that.”

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