Mercedes confirms Valtteri Bottas for 2020!

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As widely expected - and to whom it may concern - Mercedes AMG F1 has confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will partner Lewis Hamilton for a fourth consecutive season at the Silver Arrows squad in 2020.

Before F1's summer break, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said that only Bottas and reserve driver Esteban Ocon were in the running for the plum seat, insisting the latter was just as deserving of a Mercedes chance as the Finn.

Ultimately however, Mercedes has decided to play it safe and keep its line-up intact for next season, a status quo that will likely delight Hamilton given the harmony enjoyed by the German team's line-up.

Bottas, who started his career in F1 with Williams in 2013, is a five-time Grand Prix winner, achieving three victories during his 2017 maiden season with Mercedes and two wins earlier this year, in Australia and in Azerbaijan.

"I am very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me," said the Finn.

"My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick start the second half of 2019.

"My overall target is to become Formula One world champion. I believe that on paper, and from my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his pole position in qualifying parc ferme with third placed team mate Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1.

"We have nine races to go this season and I am determined to keep improving at every one of them. Now, all my thoughts are on Spa and delivering a strong performance with the team this weekend."

An extension of Bottas' deal hopefully paves the way for Ocon's move to Renault, although it remains to be seen whether the 22-year-old will be fully released from his Mercedes contract or loaned to the French outfit for a fixed period.

"For 2019, we set Valtteri the challenge of coming back even stronger than we saw him in the first part of 2018 - and he has achieved that, with some really impressive performances in the early races this year," said Wolff.

"Although it has been his most successful first half of a championship so far, he is hungry for more and determined to keep on improving and raising his level. That's the mindset we want from all our team members.

"The results we have achieved together with Valtteri are no coincidence: he has been an integral part of our championship success in the past two seasons, his teamwork with Lewis has been exemplary and he has shown real strength of character in how he has responded to setbacks.

"I'm delighted that he will stay with the team for another season at least - and look forward to seeing him raise the bar even further."

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