MERCEDES are expected to confirm that Valtteri Bottas has signed a new deal to remain as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate next season.
The Finn is understood to have agreed a one-year extension to his current deal to take him up to the end of the 2021 season.
Valtteri Bottas is expected to sign a new deal and remain a Mercedes driver
Bottas is currently top of the drivers’ championship having won the first race back after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Hamilton lagged behind his colleague on the opening weekend, finishing fourth in the Austrian Grand Prix after a penalty.
But the 35-year-old turned things around this weekend and Mercedes will now turn their attention to signing up the world champion.
The Brit is just behind Bottas in the current standings despite winning the Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
It was a Mercedes one-two as Bottas held off the challenge of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to claim his second successive podium finish.
And the duo look set to continue their fruitful partnership into the coming seasons.
It is understood that Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius has given his blessing for the team to retain its current pairing, despite the availability of Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of this season and had been tipped as an outsider to partner Hamilton in 2021, as he is friends with Merc boss Toto Wolff.
The four-time World Champ previously revealed his exit from the Italian team was anything but mutual.
The German, 33, explained how he was brutally snubbed as no new contract was ever offered to him.
Ferrari have had a disastrous start to the season with both drivers way off the pace and things went from bad to worse on Sunday.
Vettel and team-mate Charles Leclerc were forced into early retirements after smashing into EACH OTHER on the very first lap.
Leclerc later apologised for his role in the calamitous race for Ferrari.
The ten greatest F1 drivers of all-time – according to SunSport’s motorsport correspondent Ben Hunt
Lewis Hamilton warned he faces PRISON if he breaks isolation rules in Hungary
THANKS A MIL
How Inter helped Lukaku lose over half a stone as Man U missed dietary needs
SAINTS & WINNERS
How Man Utd will line-up against Southampton with ANOTHER unchanged side
OH MY ROD
Watch Georgina Rodriguez twerk in skin-tight gym gear as she leaves fans stunned
TURN THE PAIGE
Dana White jibe at Paige VanZant after she got ‘smoked’ on UFC Fight Island
Manchester City’s two-year Champions League ban OVERTURNED in blow to rivals
Bottas’ new deal would kill off any hope that Vettel would be offered a competitive car, forcing him to take a sabbatical next year or call time on his F1 career all-together.
Meanwhile, Hamilton is expected to start talks over a new deal worth up to £40million a year.
The 35-year-old has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to remain with the team while driver salaries are not subject to being part of F1’s incoming cost cap.
Lewis Hamilton and other F1 drivers ‘take a knee’ in support of BLM at Austrian opener More