Rosberg warns Bottas about Hamilton rivalry

As for the signing of Bottas, who was brought in to replace Nico Rosberg after the German announced his shock retirement five days after winning the 2016 title, Wolff says Mercedes were by no means assured of signing the Finn.

Valtteri Bottas believes he will be able to beat teammate Lewis Hamilton to the drivers' championship in his first year as a Mercedes driver. "I'm not saying that was the case of Lewis, but we have seen that with Nico, a couple of years ago, his auto was not entirely reliable and I remember his vehicle failed in the last couple of races and in Singapore".

"I don't know where those numbers come from and I don't like talking about it", he told Finnish news agency Suomen Tietotoimisto. I am not here to be in second place or worse.

The relationship between Rosberg and Hamilton is as old as their rivalry, dating back to their karting days when they were teammates at Team MBM in the Formula A karting championship.

This season Bottas is stepping up to the Mercedes F1 team where, based on the last three seasons' results, he is nearly assured of race wins as well as the prospect of a title fight.

"I really respect what [Hamilton] has done with his career, so many poles and wins and three titles".

Accepting his still have everything to prove in F1, Bottas is confident he can quickly establish himself amongst the front runners.

"I hope we have a vehicle good enough to get race wins and the championship, but we will continue to give them equal opportunity".

Bottas, who will join Hamilton at the launch of the new Mercedes at Silverstone next Thursday before testing in Spain the following week, saw no obstacles to them working well together and racing hard and fair.

He has also sought advice from Rosberg ahead of the new campaign.

"I think you, as a team or as a corporation like Mercedes, you tend to want to streamline everything", he said.

The 20-race season starts in Australia on March 26.

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