|Photo: @MassaFelipe19 (Instagram)|
Valtteri Bottas' move to Mercedes is now imminent.
Felipe Massa and Williams have announced that the 35-year-old Brazilian will indeed put his retirement on hold to race for one more season, in a move that now all but confirms Bottas will join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. Massa posted a picture on Instagram breaking the news to his fans, saying, "I want to thank all of you who supported and cried with me. Thank you for all the messages of support and affection for me to return. Thanks Williams Martini Racing for the opportunity and confidence in my work! I'm back!"
Originally, it appeared there would be no room for Massa at Williams in 2017, which forced the Brazilian into retirement after originally stating he wanted to stay in Formula One for a couple more years. My more detailed thoughts on Massa's u-turn can be found here.
I'll have another post up when Bottas is announced at Mercedes.
UPDATE: Couldn't even finish Massa's post before it was confirmed: Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are now teammates at Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Bottas made his debut for Williams in 2013 and has scored nine podium finishes for the Grove-based team, including a third-place drive in Canada last season. The 27-year-old Finn is still looking for his first career F1 win and pole position, though both of those are probably imminent given the power in the car Bottas will be driving next season.
Bottas becomes the third driver to have his ride confirmed today, with Massa and Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber) having confirmed their deals earlier this morning (or afternoon for my European readers) as well. Only Manor still need to confirm their drivers, though that's of course secondary right now given their priority is coming out of administration.