With a year of Mercedes experience behind him, Valtteri Bottas has no excuses not to perform, says team mate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas conquered the first Grand Prix wins of his career last season with the Silver Arrows outfit which he joined in 2017 after four years with Williams.
The Finn struggled however mid-way through the campaign as struggled with the team’s complicated W08 while still gaining knowledge of Mercedes’ inner workings.
Bottas nevertheless corrected his momentum in the latter part of the year, winning the season-finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton expects his team mate to pick up where he left off in Melbourne and capitalize on his Mercedes experience. Asked if he expected Bottas to be harder to beat in 2018, the four-time world champion replied that he sees the Finn as just another rival.
Bottas not wasting energy using mind games on Hamilton
“No,” replied Hamilton. “But I would say that about anyone. It’s nothing about Valtteri.
“It’s difficult coming to a new team and learning new ways, new controls and now he’s gone through the whole learning process and he’s going to hit the ground running.
“So there’s no more excuses for sure.”
Bottas has vowed to step up his game this year, in a bid to fulfill his winning ambitions but also to defend his plum drive at Mercedes, potentially from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who could target the coveted seat for 2019.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects the 28-year-old to deliver a performance worthy of his status and equipment, but if he doesn’t, his drive will be in jeopardy.
“If he can step up and challenge Lewis, he certainly has his place among the best Formula 1 drivers,” said Wolff.
“If he does not, he will notice that there are no excuses.”
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