According to sources within the Mercedes’ F1 team, Finland’s Valtteri Bottas is leading the race to replace world champion Nico Rosberg for the 2016 constructor’s championship winners.
The Finn is currently contracted to Williams, who insist that their 2017 lineup remains unchanged with their spokesperson telling Sky Sports that Bottas would partner rookie Lance Stroll next season.
Mercedes' boss Toto Wolff was open about his admiration for Bottas but conceded it would be tough to pry him away from Williams.
Wolff told Sky Sports last week: "Besides the personal relationship, where he's a very likeable and intelligent driver, he's also somebody who is very, very fast.
But he's with Williams now, the lead driver, and is very important for the combination with Lance Stroll. Claire [Williams] and her team very much rely on him."
Should Bottas leave Williams he is likely to be replaced by either Pascal Wehrlein or Felipe Nasr who have yet to be contracted for 2017.
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