Valtteri Bottas has said that he feels "fully settled in" at Mercedes and that he cannot pin a lack of performance to his inexperience and short time at the team. Bottas was originally going to stay with Williams for 2017, however, following the retirement of Nico Rosberg who won the championship in 2016, a vacancy at Mercedes caused the Finn to switch teams in January to join the reigning champions.
In the early part of the season, Bottas trailed Lewis Hamilton, but enters F1's summer break with the best form of any driver on the grid after securing five consecutive podium finishes from the Canadian Grand Prix to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
After an impressive set of results which includes two victories, Bottas is in the title fight with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton as he remains in third place in the Drivers' Championship, only 33 points adrift from the lead. Approaching the second half of the season, Bottas now believes that he can perform to his full potential.
"I feel I'm fully settled in, you know, I cannot say I'm lacking performance because of being new to the team," said the Finn. "I feel very much part of the team, the team has been really supportive of that, getting me up to speed with everything."
"For sure, Lewis has been with the team many years, and it's always a benefit, I know [that from] being at Williams a long time," he added. "I've got to the point with the team that I feel that I can definitely perform at my best level and now we'll continue to work ahead. Sure, there's plenty more to come, but I'm feeling good in the team."
Bottas is currently on a one-year deal at the Silver Arrows and has not yet been confirmed at the team for 2018. Nevertheless, the driver remains confident that contract negotiations will begin soon. "For sure, soon we will start to… we need to speak [about] what's going to happen, obviously," he said. "I have no idea about the future yet so, for sure, we will speak at some point, but the problem is that the mobile phone is not so good in the sauna! It doesn't work, so it could take a while, so don't expect anything in Spa..."