Mercedes holding off on Bottas-Ocon decision for 2020

Valtteri Bottas has impressed this season, though Mercedes is undecided on whether he, or Esteban Ocon, will take the second seat for 2020.

Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon   -  Getty Images

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff has confirmed the team will hold off on a decision over who will be driving for it in the 2020 Formula One championship.

Lewis Hamilton is Mercedes' lead driver, but it remains to be seen if Valtteri Bottas will keep his seat for 2020 ahead of Esteban Ocon.

Bottas has had an impressive season, winning two races, and sits second in the standings behind Hamilton, who he trails by 37 points.

Mercedes junior Ocon, meanwhile, had two fine seasons in Formula One before losing out on a seat at the end of 2018.

On Thursday, Bottas seemed relaxed, telling a media conference: "We've had some talks, a few weeks ago maybe. Honestly, there's no panic or rush."

And Wolff, who revealed there has been interest from other teams in Ocon, echoed Bottas' sentiment, insisting either driver would be worthy of a seat.

"We're very happy with the development of Esteban," he told a news conference on Friday ahead of the German Grand Prix. 

"The aim is to make [him] ready for a seat in a Mercedes. As we all know, it was an unfortunate situation last year that Esteban fell between the chairs. So from our perspective, everybody knows about his driving capabilities.

"Valtteri's showing some very strong performances and merits the seat, but equally Esteban has shown [strong performances] in the past and is a great addition for the team.

"He contributes a lot behind closed doors, he drives the sim overnight on race weekends, comes in here on Saturday and gives us input and he's a great kid overall. Putting a Mercedes young driver in the car would be interesting as well."


Ferrari steals thunder

Mercedes is marking its 125th year of involvement in motorsport at the German Grand Prix, though rival Ferrari stole a march in Friday's practice.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel - racing in front of his home fans - gave Ferrari its second one-two of the day in second practice in sweltering conditions at Hockenheim.

Hamilton went fastest in the final sector, but finished 0.146s off the pace, though Bottas struggled, finishing a second behind his team-mate.

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