Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he never took it as a given that Williams would release Valtteri Bottas, joking deputy team principal Claire Williams made him "cry" and "beg" a lot to secure the Finn.

Bottas was finally confirmed as Nico Rosberg's replacement for F1 2017 on January 16, but Wolff said talks with Williams were anything but easy and that Rosberg's decision to retire certainly created a few headaches.

"It was a couple of difficult weekends and weeks and Claire is clearly Frank's daughter, tough in negotiations and it wasn't always so obvious for us that we would get Valtteri. Clearly we understood it would be a compromise for Claire to let him go," Wolff told BBC Radio 5 Live.

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"But we found a solution that helps Williams to continue to develop its capability and resource and strengthen the team mid-term and long-term - and I think taking Felipe [Massa] back was a good move.

"Maybe it would have been more inspiring to keep Valtteri but I think long-term, even if I would had been in Claire's shoes, it was a good move. She made me cry a lot [though] - and made me beg of course!"

Meanwhile, Claire added while Bottas was a big part of the teams plans, she felt it would be wrong to deny him the chance to move to Mercedes.

She also emphasised that there is no way they would have let him go had the terms for Williams not have been good.

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"That would be telling!" she quipped, when asked how Mercedes persuaded her to release Bottas."Obviously losing your driver, and Valtteri - everyone knows we had a contract with him - was a key part of our team. We have clear ambitions and Valtteri was part of that.

"We would never have made that decision to let him go unless the terms for us were particularly favourable and meant we came out of it in a strong position. We couldn't possibly allow someone, a key asset like that, to [just] leave us.

"I'd like to think I made Toto's life slightly uncomfortable for a good few weeks there and Valtteri's as well. Yes, we have lost Valtteri and that's a shame. But also it is not right to stand in a driver's way when a seat like the Mercedes seat becomes available.

"Valtteri has very clear ambitions and we unfortunately can't provide him with a platform to achieve those ambitions at the moment. To stand in his way probably wouldn't have been the right thing. But I am not going to go into what Toto has given me in return for Valtteri."

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