Valtteri Bottas has agreed a new contract with Mercedes, committing him to the team for the 2018 Formula One campaign.
The Finn joined the Silver Arrows from Williams ahead of the current season, following the shock retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg.
He has made a promising start to life with the constructors' champions, clinching the first Grand Prix wins of his career in Russia and Austria, to sit third in the drivers' standings behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas' nine podiums from 13 races this season are as many as he managed in the previous four campaigns combined, and the 28-year-old was thrilled with the announcement.
"I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family. Together, we continue to grow stronger day by day, and by keeping up our hard work I believe the sky is the limit," said Bottas.
"Since joining the team in January, I've enjoyed every day working with them. The welcome and the support from every team member and all the fans has been invaluable.
"As a driver, I've been able to learn and grow massively, and we have already enjoyed some really good moments this season that I will never forget. I've been very impressed by the mentality, commitment and the team spirit this team holds.
"Partnering Lewis has also been really good, and I'm enjoying the respect we have and the will to push this team forward together.
"When the team hired me for the 2017 season, they took a leap of faith by putting their trust in my skills. This new contract for 2018 shows that I've earned that trust. I'm happy to have celebrated my first race wins in a Silver Arrow.
"However, there's always room for improvement and I still have not shown my full potential. I will continue to work hard on and off the track, to further improve my driving, get even better results and show that putting their trust in me was the right decision.
"I want to thank all the board members, the people at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as the race team and all the fans for their support and trust. It means a lot to me."
Team boss Toto Wolff, meanwhile, paid testament to Bottas' performance after filling the considerable void left by Rosberg.
"We gave Valtteri a big challenge this year: joining the team at the eleventh hour, stepping up to the forefront of F1 and pairing with the sport's best driver as his team-mate. With that in mind, his results have been probably even more impressive," Wolff said.
"There have been ups and downs - more ups, fewer downs - and some great highlights like his two race wins in Russian and Austria. Overall, the balance of his performances and his upward trajectory made it a no-brainer for us to continue with him into 2018.
"For our team, the bonus factors are the respect and sportsmanship that have grown between our two drivers. The chemistry and dynamic between Valtteri and Lewis work and are what we need to take the fight to our competitors."
19 de junio 2018
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