Arrival of Bottas will push Hamilton to a new level, claims Fittipaldi

Emerson Fittipaldi believes Valtteri Bottas will push Lewis Hamilton hard at Mercedes, and expects the Briton to rise to the challenge.

Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas   -  Getty Images

The arrival of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes will push Lewis Hamilton to excel in 2017, says two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

Hamilton was denied a third consecutive Formula One title and fourth overall by the victory of team-mate Nico Rosberg last season.
The German's shock retirement days after capturing his maiden F1 crown means Hamilton will have a new team-mate to compete against at powerhouse manufacturer Mercedes this season in the shape of Finn Bottas.

Fittipaldi, the world champion in 1972 and 1974, expects Bottas to be a genuine contender for the title, which in turn will bring about a greater level of performance from Hamilton. 

"I think [with] the new rules we don't know if this dominance of Mercedes will continue, because the change of rules have changed it completely with different tyres, different aerodynamics - it can change the balance between the teams," Fittipaldi, speaking courtesy of Laureus, told Omnisport

"It's very difficult to answer now. After the first weekend in Australia we'll know where we are. But as for [the] drivers' talent, I know Bottas is extremely talented. 

"I'm sure he's going to put a lot of pressure on Lewis [Hamilton]. It's always good for the athletes to have pressure and competition. 

"I think he will increase the performance from Lewis as they [Mercedes] are always testing and developing the car and the feeling [of the car]. 

"He's going to give more of himself to make sure he's always ahead of Bottas, and he's always going to go to the extreme with Lewis. I think it will be great to see."

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