VALTTERI BOTTAS looks set to be named Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate at Mercedes for the 2017 Formula One campaign.
The Finn reportedly paid a secret visit to the team’s HQ in Brackley for a sitting fitting ahead of being named replacement for world champion Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg shocked the motor racing world by announcing his retirement just five days after winning his first world title.
Mercedes’ third driver Pascal Wehrlein, who was one of the men tipped to replace Rosberg, is on the verge of joining Sauber, which would make Bottas’ move to the constructors’ champions all the more likely.
Bottas has impressed during his four years at Williams, finishing a career high of fourth in the 2014 World Championship and consistently outpacing the experienced Brazilian Felipe Massa.
But many fans were underwhelmed by the idea of the Finn taking the seat and had hoped to see Hamilton partnered by former rival Fernando Alonso.
Bottas is currently managed by Mercedes Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff, who would resign from the driver’s three-man management team if his move to Mercedes is finalised.
That move would likely see Massa postpone his retirement to drive alongside 18-year-old Lance Stroll.
The Williams driver was reduced to tears after an emotional reception from his home fans in Brazil during the second last Grand Prix of the season.