Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas addresses early Mercedes exit reports & takes Red Bull swipe

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Valtteri Bottas has emphatically shot down claims that he and George Russell are going to switch in the Mercedes seat this season, taking a swipe at Red Bull in the process.

Bottas has had a tough start to the campaign with two third places in the first three rounds and obviously a retirement at Imola after a big crash with the aforementioned Russell.

Indeed, many have already written off the Finn's title challenge at this early stage - such has been the form of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen this year - and that has even prompted the Daily Mail to claim that Merc are going to switch him with Russell before the season's end.

Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend in Catalonia, though, Bottas was in a bolshy mood and quickly closed down such talk with a typically forthright response, whilst he also took a dig at Red Bull and their driver swap antics.

“I know that I am not going to be replaced in the middle of the season,” Bottas said in his pre-weekend press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“As a team we do not do that. I have a contract for this year, and I think there is only one team that does that kind of thing in F1 and we are not that.

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“So no pressure from my side, as I know how things are.

“There is always b******* around, but that is part of the sport.”

You can see what he is getting at with Red Bull, given in the last few years both Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly have been replaced mid-year by Max Verstappen and Alex Albon respectively.

Bottas is evidently confident he's going nowhere this season at the very least, and he'll be desperate for a strong weekend in Spain to silence some of the critics.

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