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Valtteri Bottas signs new deal to drive for Mercedes in 2021

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 12: Second placed Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates

There’ll be a familiar face at Mercedes next year, with the reigning world champions announcing they have opted to retain Valtteri Bottas for 2021, extending their relationship into a fifth season.

The Finn has become an integral part of the Mercedes set-up since being drafted in following Nico Rosberg's shock retirement at the end of 2016, achieving a best championship finish of second last year, and scoring eight wins with the team so far.

ANALYSIS: 6 key questions about Bottas' new Mercedes deal answered

Ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Mercedes took the opportunity to announce they would be retaining Bottas “until at least the end of 2021”, locking out the first of their two seats for 2021 with talks yet to accelerate with Lewis Hamilton about his future.

“I’m very happy to stay with Mercedes in 2021 and build on the success we’ve enjoyed together already,” said Bottas. “Thank you to everyone in the team and the wider Mercedes family for their continued support and their trust in me. I’m very proud to represent this great team and the three-pointed star on our journey together again next year.

“The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance. I’m confident that today I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, but I can always raise the bar. Mercedes embraces the same philosophy: They always want to get better and are always hungry for more.

WATCH: Bottas took victory in the opening round of the 2020 F1 season

I’m confident that we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 today and signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff

“Ever since I fell in love with F1 as a kid it’s been my dream to one day become world champion. I’m in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well.

“We’re in the middle of a shortened season and I want to give my absolute best in every single race we’ll go to this year. The puncture last weekend was a bit of a blow in my fight with Lewis, but I’m determined to come back strong this weekend on the same track.”

READ MORE: Hamilton says he can see himself racing on in F1 'for at least another 3 years'

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff added: “We are very excited that Valtteri will stay with the team for at least one more season. We’re seeing the strongest Valtteri we’ve ever seen this year – in terms of his on-track performance, but also physically and mentally. He is second in the championship, finished the last season in P2 and plays a very important part in our overall team performance.

“I’m confident that we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 today and signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future. Valtteri is a hard-working, straightforward guy who has a good relationship with the entire team – including his team-mate, which is not a given when both drivers are fighting for the championship.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to raise the bar together with us this year and in 2021.”

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