Valtteri Bottas has said that he is balancing his ambitions to win races against his desire to secure a “long-term contract” with Mercedes.
Having replaced the reigning champion Nico Rosberg this year, Bottas has impressed so far in 2017 and won his first grand prix in Sochi.
Now, ahead of this weekend’s race in Azerbaijan, the Finn says that his winning ambitions remain on track.
“I love racing in Baku,” he told Italy’s Autosprint, “and I believe it is time for me to try to win again.”
However, Mercedes signed only a one-year deal for Bottas this year, so the 27-year-old said that he is mindful that a big goal for 2017 is to secure a new deal.
“Winning is the first thing I think about when I race, but I know that the work for the team is what comes first. I want to be consistent and earn a long-term contract with Mercedes,” he explained.
“It will not be easy because Lewis [Hamilton] is very strong and Ferrari are very close to us, and even better on some occasions.”
For the moment, though, Mercedes seem happy with their choice to replace the suddenly-retired Rosberg.
“He is in a great position in the championship,” said team boss Toto Wolff, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s hard to believe that he only arrived in the team a short time ago.
“In seven grands prix, he has gone beyond all expectations.
“He has a pole, a victory and has pushed Lewis on Saturdays and Sundays. He just needs to put it all together every weekend and I’m sure he will do that.”
Bottas is currently third in the driver rankings behind Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.
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