F1 Raceweek: Bottas pressed on 2018 drive, Ocon and Perez make up

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Azerbaijan will host only its second grand prix this weekend as the winding city streets of Baku set the stage for the latest round of the Formula One world championship.

Ahead of the eighth race of a dramatic campaign, the drivers that assembled for Thursday's media duties had plenty to discuss.

Valtteri Bottas fielded questions on his Mercedes future, while Esteban Ocon was forced to address talk of a rift with Force India team-mate Sergio Perez.

 

BOTTAS COOL ON MERCEDES FUTURE

Having only signed a one-year deal with Mercedes, one thing Bottas does not have is job security.

But the Finn, who sits third in the standings, is remaining calm over his future.

"I don't know when I will know [about a 2018 drive]," he said. 

"For sure discussions will be open soon. I know some kind of plan, when they are planning on having things sorted, but that is between us.

"For sure I am keen to have a long-term relationship with Mercedes, that is my target, and that is why every day I work hard and try to make the most out of every single situation."

PEREZ AND OCON CLEAR THE AIR

Ocon moved to quell any talk of friction between him and Perez, despite having criticised the Mexican after the Canadian Grand Prix.

The 20-year-old was annoyed by Perez's staunch defence of fifth place when it appeared the Frenchman would have been well placed to challenge the top three had his colleague let him pass.

Perez insisted that he was only racing for the team and Ocon revealed any dispute had now been settled.

He said: "I had a good discussion with Sergio. I called him in the week and cleared the air. We are all set for a new weekend.

"My goal is to finish on the podium. If we have a great car here why not if we can achieve it."

 

FERRARI SUCCESS ALL THAT MATTERS TO RAIKKONEN

Ferrari enjoyed a one-two finish in Monaco, but Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen failed to make the podium in Canada last time out.

Raikkonen trails his team-mate by 68 points and would be more than happy to help the German take the title if it proves beyond his reach.

"It's Ferrari's priority to win the championship. I'll help Seb if I cannot win it," he said, before playing down expectations of a repeat of their Monaco exploits.

"It's a completely different track to Monaco. I expect it will be close. I doubt one team will be ahead."