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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Singapore GP extended to 2021, and Bottas not content with third place

Mercedes-GP driver is determined to beat Hamilton and Vettel in the drivers' title race in 2017.

Valtteri Bottas, left, is trailing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, right, and Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' title race. Wong Maye / AP Photo
Valtteri Bottas, left, is trailing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, right, and Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' title race. Wong Maye / AP Photo

Valtteri Bottas said he would see finishing third in the drivers' championship as a failure after he was handed a new one-year contract by his Formula One team Mercedes.

The Finn trails his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 38 points, and he said he needs to get his act together quickly.

"Anything in Formula One is always possible with seven races to go," Bottas said ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, the 14th of 20 races this season.

"But I do definitely need to start finishing ahead of Lewis and Sebastian if I want to keep my title hopes alive, and rather sooner than later."

He added: "I'm not here to finish third. I definitely want to be fighting for the title as long as there is possibilities for that.

"I really want to make the most out of the end of the year and I always set my targets very high, so third is not one of them."

Bottas has won two races this year and has 197 points, while Hamilton (238 points) and Vettel (235) have 10 victories between them.

A one-year deal could leave Bottas vulnerable at the end of next season, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo among the drivers who will become available.

But Bottas said he now had the opportunity to nail down a spot with Mercedes with his performances this year and next season.

"For sure the team always wants to have options open for the future, I understand 100 per cent. But I'm very happy with this. It's still better than the original contract that I had," Bottas said.

"As always with my career in F1, it's going to be completely up to me. If I perform well, there's no problem and we can have a long future together."

Singapore GP gets four-year extension

A general view taken from Swissotel the Stamford shows the illuminated circuit for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix night race on Sunday. Roslan Rahman / AFP
A general view taken from Swissotel the Stamford shows the illuminated circuit for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix night race on Sunday. Roslan Rahman / AFP

Singapore Grand Prix organisers announced a four-year contract extension on Friday, guaranteeing the glittering night race until 2021.

"The agreement was concluded today after several rounds of negotiations," Singapore trade minister S Iswaran said.

The extension had been expected after Formula One chief Chase Carey this week praised the floodlit street race, which snakes past landmarks and skyscrapers, as "spectacular".

"The Singapore race is clearly a signature race... it's also our gateway into Asia which is important for our future and our growth," Carey said on Friday.

"Singapore is truly an iconic race on our schedule worldwide," he added.

While Singapore has signed on for another four years, neighbouring Malaysia is about to hold its last grand prix after cancelling the race citing rising costs.

The Singapore Grand Prix, whose 10th edition is on Sunday, has quickly become one of Formula One's best known races and is often compared to Monaco's classic street grand prix.