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Bottas joins Mercedes as Rosberg replacement for F1 2017

Valtteri Bottas has been confirmed to join Mercedes for the 2017 F1 world championship after agreeing a deal to leave Williams.
Valtteri Bottas has been confirmed to join Mercedes for the 2017 F1 world championship after agreeing a deal to leave Williams and become Nico Rosberg's replacement.

The Finnish driver became the preferred candidate for Mercedes to fill the gap left by 2016 world champion Rosberg, who announced his retirement from the sport just days after clinching the title, and the defending world champions have secured a deal with Williams for 2017.

Having been initially announced as part of Williams' 2017 driver line-up alongside rookie Lance Stroll, Bottas will now team-mate three-time F1 world champion Hamilton and take on a title contender at Mercedes.

Reacting to the official announcement in a speech to the Mercedes factory in Brackley, Bottas is thrilled to join the triple world champions and is solely focused on winning races.

"I have been dreaming for a long time to drive for a team like this so I am really proud to be a part of this," Bottas said. "Mercedes should be proud of what it has achieved in the past three years and also in its history in Formula 1. I can't wait to drive a Silver Arrow this year and I can't wait to start working properly, I am happy to get everything sorted.

"There are so many people I still need to meet so you will see me around a lot and it will give me a good chance to get to know the team and the new car.

"My goal immediately in the first race is to get all the performance available that there is from the car and I have faith in you all for producing a good car.

I just want to thank Toto and everyone at Mercedes involved for giving me this opportunity. This will be my fifth season in Formula 1 and I have nine podiums from my time with Williams but obviously I am still missing my first win so that is my first mission then we will go from there."

Bottas is also confident of building a strong working relationship with new team-mate Hamilton despite the fractious partnership between the three-time world champion and outgoing champion Rosberg.

"I think myself and Lewis will be a strong pair together, I really respect him as a person and as a driver and everyone knows how quick he is," he said. "I'm sure he'll also be working very close with me and we can work as a team, work together, have a good spirit while both going flat out and race hard to aim for the championship."

The news comes after Felipe Massa's return to Williams to take up the vacated race seat by Bottas, while factory Mercedes driver Pascal Wehrlein joins Sauber for 2017 with his previous team Manor in administration.



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