'A no brainer': Mercedes to extend Valtteri Bottas' contract

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MONZA, Italy (AP) Valtteri Bottas has been assured he will keep his seat at Mercedes for at least another year.

''It is a no brainer to continue with Valtteri,'' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said Friday at the Italian Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Bottas joined Mercedes on a one-year contract after Nico Rosberg suddenly retired, just days after winning the Formula One title last season.

The Finnish driver has posted two wins and eight podium results this season and sits third in the drivers' standings, 41 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and 34 points behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff dismissed speculation that Bottas still needed to prove himself, saying ''we are very happy with Valtteri.

''He had some very good moments, like in Sochi, and he had more difficult races like in Spa,'' Wolff added. ''We want to keep him in the team. It is just down to contractual situations, mailing it and signing it. Hopefully we can do this.''

Wolff also pointed to the positive relationship between Bottas and Hamilton, who have a far better working relationship than the often tense one between Hamilton and Rosberg over the past three years.

''The dynamics between the drivers is important,'' Wolff said.

Bottas, who was previously with Williams, led Friday's second practice.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa's future at Williams remains unclear with deputy team principal Claire Williams saying the team's focus for the remainder of the season should be on securing fifth place in the constructors' standings.

''We're going to wait and see,'' she said when asked about the driver lineup.

The 36-year-old Massa changed his retirement plans to return with Williams this season.