Valtteri Bottas: I can beat Lewis Hamilton to F1 title at Mercedes
"Nico showed beating Lewis is possible," says Bottas as he prepares for first Mercedes season. "I'm not here for second place."
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 14/02/17 7:58pm
Valtteri Bottas is optimistic he can follow in Nico Rosberg's footsteps and beat Lewis Hamilton, but admits he has a lot to prove at Mercedes in 2017.
The Finn is preparing for his first year with the Silver Arrows following his off-season move from Williams, and faces the unenviable task of going head to head with three-time world champion Hamilton.
Anthony Hamilton, Lewis' father, even claimed that Bottas' switch could be a "career-ending" decision, but the 27-year-old says Rosberg proved that Hamilton can be defeated in 2016's title triumph.
"I feel it is possible," Bottas told Sky Sports in Germany. "Nico showed beating Lewis is possible.
"But I really respect what he has done with his career. He has so many poles, wins - three titles - and I still don't have a race win. I have a lot to prove."
Despite failing to land a victory during his four years in Formula 1 with Williams, Bottas impressively collected nine podiums in an often inconsistent car.
The step up to the triple constructors' champions promises to be huge - especially if Mercedes continue to dominate after the sport's 2017 'rules refresh' - but Bottas remains positive he can win a world championship with his new team.
"If the car is the strongest, yes [I can fight for the title]," he added. "I'm not here to be in second place or worse. It is definitely a challenge, and going up against Lewis is always going to be a challenge.
"But for me, it's a massive opportunity. Everything is still ahead, so it's going to be an exciting year."