Valtteri Bottas says he is relieved to have finally sealed his place on the 2020 Formula 1 grid after agreeing a new contract with Mercedes.

Mercedes confirmed on Thursday that Bottas would remain as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate next season after choosing to activate its option in his contract to extend his stay with the team into a fourth year.

The Finn admitted he was considering both “Plan A” and “Plan B” alternatives during a nervy wait, with Mercedes pitting Bottas in a straight shootout against reserve driver Esteban Ocon for a 2020 seat. A new deal was finally agreed and signed over the weekend.

“For sure that’s always good news when you get things confirmed for next year and it’s definitely all that what I wanted, as I believe the team will be strong for the rest of the year and also next year,” Bottas said.

“I see no reasons why it wouldn’t. Obviously that made me very happy, to hear it and to get it all done, finally.

“I think it was last weekend we signed, paperwork was done, I kind of had to wait a little bit until then but I still had a good break and lots of fun and everything but I’m happy now.”

Asked if he was sweating over his future following two difficult races ahead of the summer break, Bottas replied: “To be honest, going into the summer break, in this sport you know that while nothing is signed anything can happen.

“Obviously when it comes to the driver, the decisions are made by the teams and there are many different things the teams look at and those are the kind of things that make a difference when they make their choices.

“The whole situation between me and Esteban was very openly spoken, so I had to wait until last weekend.

“For sure I was thinking about other options, just in case, because you never want to be left between two chairs, so for sure I was trying to make plans for something else, but then things started to go the right way and then I saw that it was just better to commit to this as it is.

“As I said, it makes me very happy to know about the future, I don’t need to worry about it now, I can really focus on the job and after the last couple of races, I really want to have a strong result here and a really strong end of the year.”

Bottas said he analysed his performances from the first half of the season with Mercedes during the summer break and is determined to recapture the form he demonstrated in the opening rounds of the year.

“You always analyse it, you always look back at things to see how you can improve and with the team, before we went on holidays we had a good catch up on everything,” he explained.

“As always, trying to improve and learn from every single mistake, every single situation where I feel I could have been better, where we feel we could have done better as a team.

“There was nothing new on that and definitely we felt that the level we had at the beginning of the year was very good. I believe my performance hasn’t been dropping, just that we had a few odd races and some mistakes, for sure.

“That was my bad, they weren’t there at the beginning of the year, but these things happen and you learn from them. My goal for the second part of the season is to be as strong as I ever can and try to be at my best level.

“I know what I can do if I get there, but how to get there is the tricky part in this sport. Obviously the goal is to be very strong until the end of the year.”

 

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