DRIVER MARKET: Bottas expects to discuss Mercedes future 'in next month or so'
Valtteri Bottas is eager to settle his future at Mercedes this summer, as the Finn is well aware that time is of the essence when it comes to securing a full-time seat in Formula 1.
Bottas' Azerbaijan Grand Prix didn't go to plan as he finished a lowly 12th, compounding the pain from his Monaco GP that ended due to a botched pit stop. With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, and seats sparse as always, he was asked in Baku whether he had talked with the Silver Arrows over an extension for 2021.
"First of all, we haven't yet spoken anything because it's a pretty demanding championship and you know how much it matters to have working peace, let's say, so you can focus on the main thing, which is performance," he said.
"That time will come, for sure. It's been not yet, but obviously time flies and especially soon when we go to triple headers etcetera, we won't really have time. I would imagine that naturally in the next month or so maybe we'll start to speak. I know from previous experience, the sooner you can sort out things it's better for everyone. So it will come soon, but not yet."
The likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Aston Martin have their line-ups settled for 2022, while Max Verstappen is on a long-term contract at Red Bull. Bottas was asked where his future could lie, then, in 2022 – and maintained that he has a "good few years" to offer in F1.
He explained: "I'm quite open-minded like in life in general, you need to always take opportunites and you just never know what's around the corner. And that's, also having clear goals, what you're pushing for, it has taken me this far, and yes [I] always want to follow my heart and follow my passion.
"And I am still enjoying Formula 1, of course, very much and racing at the front, and I really love it and I still enjoy it as much as I did, for example, in my first year with Mercedes, no doubt.
"If I look at the big picture, for sure I still have a good few years in me. I feel like year on year I keep improving on certain areas and keep getting better. I'm quite far from the oldest drivers on the grid so, in theory, I still have time, but you just don't know what the future holds. I take it weekend by weekend and see what comes," he concluded.
Team mate Lewis Hamilton is also out-of-contract for 2022 but, after an Azerbaijan Grand Prix that saw Mercedes miss out on a chance to take back the championship lead from Red Bull – leaving Team Principal Toto Wolff fuming – perhaps now isn't the best time to talk contracts at Brackley...