Valtteri Bottas confident he can beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to World Drivers' Championship

The Finn has insisted he has not moved to Mercedes to play second-fiddle

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The Independent Online

Valtteri Bottas believes he can beat Lewis Hamilton to the Formula One championship after declaring he has not joined Mercedes to settle for second place.

Hamilton will be partnered by the 27-year-old Finnish driver for the new season, which gets under way in Melbourne next month.

Bottas, who is yet to claim a race win in the sport, is expected to play second fiddle to the triple world champion.

But the former Williams driver believes Nico Rosberg's title triumph over Hamilton last season - despite the Briton winning more races - proves his new team-mate is not untouchable.

"I feel it is possible," said Bottas when asked if he could get the better of Hamilton. "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.

"I respect what he [Hamilton] has done with his career, so many poles, wins and three titles - I still don't have a race win - so I have a lot to prove, but everything is still ahead so it is going to be an exciting year."

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Bottas is still waiting on his maiden Grand Prix victory (Getty Images)

Hamilton endured a number of reliability issues last season en route to losing his title to Rosberg.

The German however, will not defend his championship after choosing to quit in the days after he ended his long-running losing streak to Hamilton by virtue of finishing second at the season decider in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton and Rosberg endured a fractious relationship as they fought for the title, but Bottas envisages no such problems with the 32-year-old British driver.

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Bottas envisages no animosity with new team-mate Hamilton (Getty Images)

"I see no obstacles for me and Lewis to work well together," Bottas, who was speaking to Germany's Sky Sports, added.

"I think we should be able to race hard, fair, be professional and work well as a team and as a good pair of team-mates should do."

Bottas has also sought advice from Rosberg ahead of the new campaign.

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Mercedes have announced Nico Rosberg in an ambassadorial role for 2017 (Getty Images)

"I just sent a request that perhaps we could catch up before the season," Bottas said. "That would be very nice.

"Nico spent a long time with the team and knows every single person really well. At this point, for me, starting in a new team and trying to get that information from everyone will be a big help."

Mercedes will unveil their new car at Silverstone next Thursday with the opening pre-season test starting in Barcelona on February 27.

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