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Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG Petronas have agreed on a two-year contract extension for the 2019 and 2020 Formula One seasons.

Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff says this was an important factor, strengthening the view that Bottas is effectively a No. 2 driver behind Hamilton.

However, clearly still unhappy at missing out on a record sixth home win, the Briton has cast doubt on Ferrari's post-race celebrations at Silverstone suggesting they signify an inherent weakness within the team.

Stoffel Vandoorne was slowest of all in the McLaren and now trails team-mate Fernando Alonso 0-11 in qualifying this year. He moved from Williams on a one-year deal as an emergency replacement for German driver Nico Rosberg, who stunned Mercedes - and all of F1 - by retiring days after winning the 2016 title.

This would leave the English team with a big headache as their second driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, has been comprehensively outclassed by his more established teammate.

Vettel, 31, took pole at his home race with a time of 1:12:538.

Vandoorne's profile is very similar to that of Jolyon Palmer and he was released by his Renault team prematurely at the end of the 2017 season with four races remaining. Ferrari is rumoued to be taking Charles Leclerc from Sauber, but it remains to be confirmed and there are still some who want Kimi Raikkonen to stay, to avoid destablising the current equilibrium.

Unquestionably the young Frenchman would jump at the opportunity to join the legendary marque but are the Italian team ready to put their faith in such a young driver and how intent are they in appeasing their No. 1 driver, the title-chasing Sebastian Vettel?

Moments after informing the team radio that his gears had stopped working, Lewis Hamilton jumped out of his vehicle and attempted to push it back to the pitlane as he desperately tried to avoid elimination in the first round of qualifying. He has finished second four times and is fifth overall, 59 points behind Hamilton and 67 adrift of Vettel.

"I'm really pleased", said Bottas. Woud you bet against him reversing that, though?