Bottas: ‘I won’t panic if Lewis is quicker’

Valtteri Bottas inherited a plum drive at Mercedes for this season, but the Finn isn’t feeling overwhelming pressure just one week before the 2017 season kicks off.

Bottas got into the thick of things in Barcelona during pre-season testing, with Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda happy with how the team’s new driver has settled in.

But the F1 legend also believes that Mercedes’ new recruit isn’t a match yet for start driver Lewis Hamilton, an assessment which isn’t unsettling Bottas however.

“I can deliver,” the 27-year-old driver told Germany’s Sport Bild.

“I know I was lucky with Nico retiring. It was always my goal to be in a world-class car some day, and thanks to him this has now become a reality.

“Honestly, I feel no more pressure than before. I simply know that I have been given a special opportunity to drive the best Formula 1 car ever.

“I have much more to win than lose,” he concluded.

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The prospect of lining up against triple world champion Lewis Hamilton is not a concern for Bottas, even when looking back at Nico Rosberg’s challenging relationship with the Mercedes stalwart.

“He is a real benchmark,” Bottas added.

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“For me, it will be interesting to see how he sets up the car and how his driving style works. I’m watching a triple world champion at work so to not use that opportunity would be stupid.

“For sure I won’t give up,” Bottas insisted.

“And I won’t panic if Lewis is quicker. From the first race I have to be right there, even if I know that my learning curve is steep.”

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