German GP: Vettel beats Bottas to pole, drama for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton cutting a disconsolate figure after his Mercedes car stopped

Valtteri Bottas will race for Mercedes in the 2019 Formula 1 season as the German marque became the first to confirm its full line-up for the campaign.

Already paid handsomely, the former McClaren man's new two-year contract until 2020 is £30 million a year, with a further £10 million available in bonuses.

The Brackley, England-based outfit now has its sights set on the German Grand Prix as it sits 20 points off of Ferrari's lead for the Constructors' with Hamilton eight points back on Sebastian Vettel for the Drivers' Title.

While Hamilton had been expected to stay with the team that has won both the drivers' and constructors' titles for the past four years, there had still been some lingering doubts about his commitment to the sport. Mercedes points out Hamilton is its most successful driver... in its 112-year GP history.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was fourth, just under three tenths behind Raikkonen, and benefitted from the absence of Hamilton. I enjoy working with the team, and also being team-mates with Lewis - we have a good relationship, honest and straightforward, and always aiming to get the right results for Mercedes.

"I've never seen body language like this from Lewis", commented former teammate and 2016 champion Nico Rosberg on Sky Sports television. Under the discretion of the stewards and with the help of evidence from his own team - who said the incident was premeditated - the American driver was given a four race ban and a fine for deliberately crashing into his teammate following the F2 Sprint Race.

And Hamilton admitted that with the major rule changes planned for 2021 he was not keen on committing to F1 for longer than the next two and a half seasons.

It could prove a huge moment in the title race with Hamilton now eight points adrift of Ferrari ace Sebastian Vettel ahead of Sunday's race in Germany.

Wolff recognised there had been plenty of speculation in recent months and was happy to put it to bed.

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