Mercedes boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that Valtteri Bottas' contractual position with the team has put the Finn in an 'uncomfortable situation' this year.
As a last minute recruit for Mercedes following the unexpected retirement of reigning world champion Nico Rosberg, Bottas agreed to leave Williams for a one-year contract this year with the German outfit.
But the Finn's short-term agreement had also been enforced by Mercedes' will to keep itsoptions open for 2018 given that Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso's own contracts expire at the end of the current season.
While an eventual extension of Bottas' contract is a reasonable prospect, Wolff stressed however that he knew it would likely not happen in the first part of the season.
"Of course it’s an uncomfortable situation for him with quite some pressure," Wolff said, speaking at the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva..
"When we decided to make Valtteri the offer, he knew that we would be taking our time with the decision going forward because the driver market is more open in 2018 and beyond – 2018 and 2019.
"That’s why we will not rush into a decision, but continue to work with him and see how that pans out. But generally the view of the team is that he’s done a good job.
"The call he received was pretty late, he’s driving against one of the best drivers of Formula 1 that has been with the team in his fifth season and he’s had a pole position, won a race in Sochi in a very dominant way and he's had the more difficult races.
"But overall his performance is on-track and the way he has integrated with the team was very positive."
In retrospect, Wolff judges Bottas' decision to leave Williams as bold, but the move has also empowered the Finn says the Austrian.
"He has taken a decision to leave Williams and join Mercedes in a one-year deal," he said.
"I think that the perception of him as a racing driver has gained. He’s won a race rather than lost, so I think it already paid out."