Bottas: 'Hamilton not No. 1 at Mercedes'

New boy Valtteri Bottas said Mercedes does not have a No. 1 driver and he is ready to challenge Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas   -  Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas says there is no such thing as a pecking order at Mercedes and the Finn is ready to prove he deserves the chance Mercedes has given him this year.

The Constructors champions picked Bottas as the man to replace Nico Rosberg, who sensationally retired after winning his first world title last year.

Lewis Hamilton is very much seen as the main man at Mercedes, but Bottas thinks he can challenge his team-mate ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

"I don't fear that I will be the number two at Mercedes." said the 27-year-old, who played ice hockey with the Melbourne Mustangs on Tuesday.

"Mercedes do not have a number one, or a number two 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.

"It is great to be a team-mate of Lewis and I hope we can have a strong year in this era of Formula One. 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."

Hamilton is a strong favourite to regain the title this year, but Bottas thinks he can give the Englishman a run for his money.

"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," he 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 the title].

"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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