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Bottas inching closer to new Mercedes deal

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Valtteri Bottas believes he will still be racing with Mercedes next season, and expects talks to soon accelerate towards a new deal with the Silver Arrows squad.

The 28-year-old Finn has yet to win this season, but despite not standing on the highest step of podium in 2018, Bottas has performed well and very much in line with Mercedes' expectations.

The three-time Grand Prix winner is unfazed by rumors of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon lurking in the wings at Mercedes, confident his allegiance to the German manufacturer will soon be renewed.

"Certainly before the summer break we will talk, and hopefully we will find common ground very quickly. I see no reason why not," he said.

"So far we haven't talked about that and we don't during a race weekend.

"But I've made progress with the team all the time, and I just have to keep going in the same way, so everything is fine," Bottas added.

Beyond his good results, Bottas believes he is driving better and more consistently this season compared to last year when he fell into a performance slump over the summer.

"This year I have been meeting more or less my targets with the performance for the beginning of the year," he said.

"I've been able to really continue good performances from the end of last year.

"And there have been no weekends that I have been way off the pace, like there were a few last year. So I feel I have learned from those, and need to continue my development."

Mercedes team boss toto Wolff agrees with the driver's own assessment.

"Valtteri has been upping his game through the last races and has been very solid indeed. And that proves us right with our decision back in the day," Wolff said.

"And having the two drivers close to each other in terms of performance levels, and equally respecting each other and racing each other fair is the best case."

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