Hamilton wants new Mercedes team-mate Bottas to be at his best

Valtteri Bottas is a welcome addition at Mercedes, according to three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has welcomed the fresh impetus provided by new Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas ahead of the 2017 Formula One season and claimed: "I want him to be at his best."

Former Williams driver Bottas was brought in after Nico Rosberg announced his retirement having collected a maiden F1 drivers' crown.

Three-time world champion Hamilton endured a sometimes tempestuous relationship with Rosberg and will be determined to reclaim the title after ceding it to the German last year.

Hamilton praised the impact of Bottas since his arrival but admits the true test of their burgeoning relationship will come when the pair are fighting it out for championship points.

"Fresh new ideas is always a great thing and Valtteri's fresh new energy will add to the foundation we have as  team," Hamilton told a news conference.

"I don't know him very well. I see him at the track and we bump into each other at a drivers' briefing. That's been it.

"We've always had pleasant short discussions. I saw him at the factory - third time I'd really seen him - and had a small chat today as well. 

"Ultimately there's no competition between us, so it's purely a gentlemen's discussion, so it's fine.

"When it's an intense moment it will be interesting for us and that's something we'll discover.

"If he wants to beat me, and I want to beat him, it's natural. I don't expect anything but the best from him. I want him to be at his best."

While Hamilton concedes this season might feel "strange" without Rosberg on the grid, he stopped short of saying he would miss his former colleague.

"I don't think I've missed a team-mate in my life because another takes his place," he added. "It's definitely going to feel strange. 

"It already is, going down in the garage and seeing someone else in the car. 

"One day, when I leave, another driver will come along and it will feel strange, but you get used to it. 

"Valtteri seems to have settled in quite quickly and I know he's working hard to acclimatise. He's got a lot of positive energy, so I'm excited to work with him."

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