Valtteri Bottas is edging ever closer to a new contract with Mercedes. The Finn joined the Silver Arrows at the start of 2017, replacing Nico Rosberg who shocked the sporting world when he announced his retirement from F1 after winning the 2016 title.
The 27-year-old joined on a one-year deal, allowing Mercedes to evaluate many options for the 2018 season. Bottas has picked up one pole position and two victories so far this year and lies third in the championship standings. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is hoping the deal will be announced soon.
"We only have to handle the paperwork," the Austrian said. "We hope to be able to bring something out soon. We have always indicated that we're very satisfied with our current driving duo and we do not see any reason for major changes."
Mercedes has had a tough battle this year as Ferrari has joined them at the head of the field. Speaking about the battle, Wolff admitted that Ferrari has an advantage in the championship fight as it clearly favours Sebastian Vettel over Kimi Raikkonen.
"You can only beat an opponent like Ferrari when everything fits," Wolff said. "We do want to keep ourselves open for all the options as long as possible, and we also know that there is no manual for dealing with these problems. Ferrari has the luxury of one driver being clearly ahead of the other, so for now we will decide on a race by race basis. Let's see after Monza."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing