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Bottas: I can be No. 1 at Mercedes

New Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has no intention of playing second fiddle to teammate Lewis Hamilton this season and believes he can emulate retired predecessor Nico Rosberg and beat the Briton.

"I feel it is possible," the 27-year-old Finn said yesterday morning (Singapore time).

"Nico showed beating Lewis is possible. I am 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, a massive opportunity."

Bottas joined Mercedes last month as a replacement for Rosberg, who announced his retirement only last December days after winning his first world title in Abu Dhabi.

The German had spent years trying to beat Hamilton, a triple world champion who moved to Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, in Formula 1 after a previous rivalry in karting when they were teenage teammates.

Hamilton won more races - 10 in total - in 2016 than Rosberg (nine), but missed out on a fourth championship due to technical problems and a disastrous power unit failure in Malaysia while leading.

Bottas has yet to stand on top of the podium after four seasons at former champions Williams, who also use Mercedes engines.

"I really respect what he (Hamilton) has done in his career, so many poles and wins and three titles," he said.

"I still don't have a race win, so I have a lot to prove in Formula 1.

"Everything is still ahead."

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.

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

Formula 1