Bottas and Wehrlein in two-horse race for Mercedes 2017 drive

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Valtteri Bottas and Pascal Wehrlein have emerged as the clear contenders in the race to secure a seat with Mercedes next season.

Following Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement, speculation has been rife over who will land the coveted drive.

Dozens of names were initially touted with the chance of becoming Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate next term, but the bookies odds suggest only Bottas and Wehrlein have a realistic chance.

Williams pilot Bottas is the new odds-on favourite at 4/6, ousting Mercedes’ own protege Werhlein in the process to 11/10.

But the duo are well clear of the rest in the betting.

World champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel were originally touted as potential options for the Silver Arrows, but the pair are now 14/1 apiece to ditch McLaren and Ferrari respectively.

Esteban Ocon has jumped both of them in the betting, but at 12/1 the Frenchman is seemingly unlikely to secure the drive having recently agreed a deal with Force India.

His future team-mate, Sergio Perez is a 16/1 shot, ahead of Carlos Sainz and the newly retired Jenson Button.

But Bottas, with several connections to Mercedes and in particular, Toto Wolff, is increasingly being viewed as the man who ticks the most boxes for the German outfit.

Entering the final year of his Williams contract, Mercedes can buy out Bottas’ remaining deal, in return for offering the Grove a squad a discount on their engine agreement.

In addition, it seems likely that if Bottas gets the drive, Mercedes will also place Wehrlein at Williams.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.