Valtteri Bottas does not fear being No 2 driver at Mercedes behind Lewis Hamilton
'Mercedes do not have a No 1, or a No 2 driver, so it is up to me to perform'
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 21/03/17 3:50pm
Valtteri Bottas is confident he and Lewis Hamilton will be treated equally at Mercedes and says he is ready to challenge for the drivers' championship.
Bottas is preparing to make his debut for Mercedes in Australia after replacing retired world champion Nico Rosberg as Hamilton's team-mate.
The Finn has yet to win in his 77 grands prix starts while Hamilton is a three-time world champion and has won 53 races, including 32 with Mercedes.
"I don't fear that I will be the No 2 at Mercedes," said Bottas, whose contract with the Silver Arrows only runs until the end of the season.
"Mercedes do not have a No 1, or a No 2 driver, so it is up to me to perform. As long as I do my job, which is to perform on the level where the car should be, we are all good and I know I can do it.
"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.
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"It is great to be a team-mate of Lewis and I hope we can have a strong year in this era of Formula 1. 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."
Mercedes have dominated the sport since 2014 but this season's regulation changes mean they face a stern test to retain their titles.
Team boss Toto Wolff conceded on Monday that Ferrari - who set the fastest lap in winter testing - and Red Bull had closed the gap.
But Bottas is ready to take the world championship fight to Hamilton and Mercedes' rivals.
"This team 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," Bottas said.
"I always want to just focus on my job and work as a team. If we do our work perfectly, if I do my job perfectly, it's possible [to challenge for championship]. The goal for me is to start the season in a good way and get the results early on and continue from there."
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