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Race wins paramount to Bottas keeping Mercedes seat - Salo

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Former F1 driver Mika Salo believes that race wins this year are an obligation if Valtteri Bottas wishes to remain with Mercedes in 2018.

Bottas, who put his Mercedes on pole at last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix,  has yet to secure his first Formula 1 victory since his arrival in Grand Prix racing with Williams in 2013.

The plum Mercedes seat he inherited following world champion Nico Rosberg's retreat from the sport last year comes with many perks, but it also entails an essential responsibility according to Salo: winning!

"If you look at the statistics, Bottas is on average closer to Hamilton's times than Rosberg was," said the former Ferrari and Sauber driver.

"But he also knows that he is under pressure. Valtteri needs to win a few races, because he has a contract at Mercedes for only one year."

Mercedes' Toto Wolff offered Bottas a one year contract so the German team could keep its options open for 2018, when Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso's contracts with their respective teams come to expiration.

Last Sunday in Bahrain, Bottas obeyed an instruction to let a faster Lewis Hamilton through to try and chase down future winner Sebastian Vettel.

Wolff hinted that team orders favouring Hamilton cold come into play to counter the threat posed by the Scuderia and Vettel.

A state of affairs which, if applied, would only further complicated Bottas' task of winning, and therefore keeping his seat for a second season.

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