'A no brainer': Mercedes to extend Valtteri Bottas' contract

F1 Business Diary 2017 The Belgian Grand Prix

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who signed a new long-term deal in Spa last week, is leading the Drivers' championship by seven points from Lewis Hamilton. There are people inside the team now that I have been working with back then. "There is no rush, and I still have another year, so we still have a lot of time", he added. "So I'm looking forward to turning that upside down".

"Obviously we had a smoother weekend all around, but still I think we've made improvements on all fronts, so I was very, very happy with the performance last week".

"It was nice that it stayed dry because all the forecasts said that the rain could affect the running - and we could have limited running before qualifying, and the race, in the dry, but we got our full plan done".

"I have in the past, many years ago, felt that I was in the enemy's back garden", he said.

Vettel had been linked to Mercedes in media speculation, and the team's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said last weekend there had been some contact as the German considered his options.

McLaren had an excellent afternoon, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso seventh and eighth ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon and Williams' Felipe Massa.

"There are a couple of things that we need to do better like with the auto balance and the stability under braking which is important around here to get the confidence". Most other teams tried to make this work but found that when racing hard in traffic, 2 stops were needed to keep their drivers on usable rubber.

"Initially in FP1 we went slightly in the wrong direction with the setup", he continued.

Due to his mechanical problems at Spa he is due to have grid penalties in Italy for new components to be fitted to his Red Bull Racing auto. "If we have to be strategic about it then OK". Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, will face an uphill battle to score a second successive podium after Spa.

And while he would not be willing to join the Scuderia to be their "number two", the 28-year-old admits he needs to think about the future in his quest to claim a first world championship. "We're staring down the barrel at a bunch of penalties at Monza".

"Following that there are going to be some real hard races coming up and I don't know whether we are going to be able to keep the Ferrari behind".

As usual. The Mercs will be right up there and still the favourites, however the ferraris also know how to set up a auto round Monza and it seems they are almost dead level with Mercedes in terms of power.

The Woking team had further talks with Renault today, as they move close to divorce from current engine supplier Honda. This could have much as a half a second benefit if done correctly.

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