Valtteri Bottas has secured another one-year deal with Mercedes and finalises the top 3 teams line up for next year.
The Finn joined Mercedes last minute for this season after the shock retirement of reigning world champion Nico Rosberg.
Many believed that the one-year deal would merely be a filler for this year and that Mercedes would hire someone else from 2018 onward.
But he has impressed the team enough to secure a contract extension after winning 2 races this year and seemingly being able to pick up the pieces when Hamilton isn’t performing.
“We gave Valtteri a big challenge this year: joining the team at the eleventh hour,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“Stepping up to the forefront of F1 and pairing with the sport’s best driver as his teammate.
“With that in mind, his results have been probably even more impressive. There have been ups and downs – more ups, fewer downs – and some great highlights like his two race wins in Russian and Austria.
“Overall, the balance of his performances and his upward trajectory made it a no-brainer for us to continue with him into 2018. For our team, the bonus factors are the respect and sportsmanship that have grown between our two drivers.
“The chemistry and dynamic between Valtteri and Lewis work and are what we need to take the fight to our competitors.”
“I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family.
“Together, we continue to grow stronger day by day, and by keeping up our hard work I believe the sky is the limit.
“Since joining the team in January, I’ve enjoyed every day working with them. As a driver, I’ve been able to learn and grow massively, and we have already enjoyed some really good moments this season that I will never forget.
“Partnering Lewis has also been really good, and I’m enjoying the respect we have and the will to push this team forward together.
“When the team hired me for the 2017 season, they took a leap of faith by putting their trust in my skills. This new contract for 2018 shows that I’ve earned that trust.
“I’m happy to have celebrated my first race wins in a Silver Arrow, however, there’s always room for improvement and I still have not shown my full potential.
“I will continue to work hard on and off the track, to further improve my driving, get even better results and show that putting their trust in me was the right decision.
“I want to thank all the board members, the people at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as the race team and all the fans for their support and trust. It means a lot to me.”
Bottas made the announcement on Twitter earlier today.