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Bottas' back-up plan? Mercedes man at the wheel again

Bottas' back-up plan? Mercedes man at the wheel again

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Bottas' back-up plan? Mercedes man at the wheel again

Bottas' back-up plan? Mercedes man at the wheel again

Valtteri Bottas shapes as potentially the most important cog in the driver market for 2020 as Mercedes weigh up the Finn's future alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Toto Wolff has confirmed that the second seat at the champions will either see Bottas continue for a fourth season, or see Esteban Ocon ascend from his reserve role.

The driver market crashed into action this week with Red Bull promoting Alexander Albon to replace Pierre Gasly for the remainder of the season and the next major decision is Wolff's to make.

Bottas won two of the first four races of the season, putting a winless 2018 to rest, but he has since fallen badly off the pace of Hamilton and sits 62 points adrift of his team-mate over the summer break.

Top seats in F1 are difficult to come by. Ferrari's line-up seems set for 2020, Red Bull remain determined to promote from within and the resurgent McLaren have confirmed Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will remain, leaving Bottas short of top-level options if Mercedes opt for Ocon.

Renault may have a seat next to Daniel Ricciardo available, Haas could have a vacancy, but is Bottas thinking even further afield?

The Finn was back at the wheel this week, taking to his third rally test in less than a year.

Bottas drove in the Arctic Rally in pre-season and has already driven the WRC-spec Toyota in the meantime. This time he was back in a Ford Fiesta, which he drove in the Arctic Rally.

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