Valtteri Bottas is not concerned by recent speculation he could lose his Mercedes Formula 1 seat to Daniel Ricciardo for 2019, saying such rumours are “nothing new” and that he is instead focusing on his own on-track performances.

Ricciardo’s victory in China two weeks ago resulted in renewed speculation about his future beyond the end of the season when his existing deal with Red Bull will expire.

The Australian has been linked with drives at both Mercedes and Ferrari for 2019, but denied holding talks with any team except Red Bull earlier on Thursday.

With four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton widely expected to put pen to paper on a new Mercedes contract in the coming months, it is Bottas who would make way for Ricciardo were he to join the German manufacturer.

However, Bottas is unmoved by suggestions he could lose his seat, saying he grew accustom to the speculation last year.

“It’s normal. I was used to it last year, the same this year,” Bottas said.

"It’s nothing new for me. I am 100 percent happy to just focus on myself, performing well.

“If I keep performing like the last couple of races, I see no issues.”

Mercedes heads into this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix aiming to end its longest winless run since 2013, having lost out in each of the first three races of the new season.

Ferrari won the first two races in Australia and Bahrain, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took victory in China two weeks ago, with Bottas finishing on the podium twice in that run.

“The competition is really tough. It’s these three teams battling for the wins as we were expecting after winter testing so that’s the situation,” Bottas said.

“It’s all about fine details and getting everything right in the races. I think we’ve had a car in the first three races that could have won the race, performance wise but there’s always something happening.

“In Bahrain, we got very close to the win. I think also in China, without different situations and safety cars so the speed we have is extremely close with Ferrari and Red Bull.

“We just need to keep it together and try and release more performance. I am sure it will come.”


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