'No big panic or big rush' to sign new Mercedes deal, says Bottas
Two races into the season and Valtteri Bottas is sitting pretty at the top of the drivers' standings and in the midst of negotiations with Mercedes about extending his stay at the Silver Arrows into 2021. And though he admitted he hoped the contract situation wouldn't drag on, the Finn said there was no "big panic or big rush" to ink the deal either.
Now, however, the stars seem to be aligning for Bottas, who has been with Mercedes since 2017, to ink a fresh Silver Arrows deal much earlier than that. An hour or so before Bottas was due to speak at the Hungarian Grand Prix press conference on Thursday, Mercedes junior George Russell confirmed he'd be staying at Williams in 2021, making Bottas' renewal look much more likely, even if the man himself remained a little coy.
“I can say that we have started talking about it,” said Bottas, when asked for the latest on how his contract talks were going. “I think we all realise that time actually goes quick with these triple headers and pretty intense schedule for all of us.”
Drivers' standings ahead of Hungary
|1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes||43|
|2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes||37|
|3 Lando Norris McLaren||26|
So, it seems that Team Principal Toto Wolff is keeping to his promise of doing a “better job” of not keeping the Finn in limbo when it comes to a contract renewal - even if the deal isn't quite over the line just yet.
“Obviously, nothing is signed yet and I think things are moving along in the right direction,” continued Bottas. “The main thing as I said last weekend is to keep focused on the championship, big things to be achieved this year, so keep focus on that and I’m sure things will move on eventually.
“But of course, from the driver’s side if things drag on, its not nice, but we’ve only done two races so it’s OK, there’s no big panic or big rush,” he concluded.
Bottas currently holds a five-point championship advantage over team mate Lewis Hamilton having won the first race of the season, before finishing second to Hamilton - who has won every title on offer since 2017 - in the second round.