The 2017 Formula One season is just five days away now and all eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton, but his new teammate Valtteri Bottas has said that he is ready to challenge the Brit for the world championship. In his four years at Williams, Bottas' best result in the Formula One drivers' championship was fourth place in 2014.
The 27-year-old Finnish driver certainly has a car strong enough to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the world championship this season and he is determined to prove himself and to everyone that he deserves his place at Mercedes. He has set a really high bar for himself in the 2017 Formula One season and expects to be in the championship hunt.
"I am really excited about the new season in Formula One. It is a new era with the regulation changes as well as me changing to a different team. It is a great challenge for everyone, but especially for me. Mercedes has been winning for the last three years so it is kind of a dream come true for me to be in a team like this," The Daily Mail quoted Bottas as saying.
"The only (reason) I do this is to win. I will do my best that is possible, but we haven't done a single race of the season, so it's difficult to see where we are ranking up. But for the team itself and for me, we want to win. I see things very positively and I see it as a great opportunity for my career to fight for the wins and hopefully even for the world championship," he added.
Bottas has already proved himself in the new Mercedes car during pre-season testing in Barcelona where he topped the time-sheets on two occasions and said he has no doubts Mercedes will honour his equal status with Hamilton this season.
The Finn also spoke about his relationship with Hamilton saying that despite Hamilton having a strained relationship with his former teammate Nico Rosberg last season, things have been going smooth with him so far.
"I don't fear that, I think Mercedes doesn't have a number one or number two driver and that's pretty much up to me to perform. As long as I do my job so that my performance on track is at the level the car should be, we're all good," Bottas said.
"I am very excited about going up against Lewis. He is a three-time world champion and a great reference point. Everybody knows exactly how good he is as a driver. It is great to be a team-mate of Lewis and I hope we can have a strong year in this era of Formula One. In testing we managed to work well together and there was a good team spirit. I see no reason why it should not continue like that," he added.