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Bottas must challenge Hamilton for title

NEWS STORY
05/01/2018

It's fair to say that Valtteri Bottas had a rollercoaster debut season with Mercedes in 2017.

While he was competitive in the opening stages of the season, taking his maiden win as early as the fourth race, in Russia, virtually from the moment he agreed a new one-year deal with Mercedes for 2018, the Finn went into a slump before coming back with a string of strong results at the end of the year including a somewhat fortuitous win in Abu Dhabi.

With a number of drivers coming to the end of their contacts this year, and Toto Wolff making no secret of his desire to see Daniel Ricciardo in one of his cars, Bottas must not only raise his game this year he must challenge his teammate.

"That's what he has to do," Wolff tells ESPN. "We have seen some highlights in Sochi and in Austria and then after the summer Lewis came back very strong and the step that Lewis made up, Valtteri went backwards.

"He recovered at the end of the season and he is a Finn with a strong never-give-up mentality and I expect him to come back strong with all he learning he has done during the season against the best Formula One driver of the current day and age.

"I think he's the first one who wants to prove it to himself," says the Austrian. "He knows the deficits he had during the season and he knows where he had advantages.

"I've known for ten years and ten years ago a little kid showed up in the winter in my office with a little pullover, no jacket, no father with him, and he has a super-strong will, an iron will and character, and I have no doubt we will see a better Valtteri in 2018."

However, Wolff acknowledges that unlike his predecessor, who was able to play mind games with Hamilton, Bottas will have to rely solely on race craft to beat Hamilton.

"That's not at all Valtteri's style. Valtteri wants to do it on the track in the best possible way and he has driving skills that have worked out for him at certain circuits where he was the one that set the benchmark. Valtteri will improve his weaknesses and continue to work on his strengths.

"What he wants is to be benchmarked against a four-time world champion. He's brutally honest with himself, if he can step up and challenge Lewis he has his place among the greatest drivers in Formula One. If he doesn't he's going to know it and there is no excuse."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 08/01/2018 9:23

"Will see how Bottas goes in 2018, but perhaps showing just how good Nico was."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Thomas1, 07/01/2018 2:00

"As a Renault F1 fan, what I would like to see is this: If we have Daniel Riccardo paired with Alonso at Mclaren next year and beat out Red Bull for World Championship and/or Constructor championship in 2018 and go on winning the Formula F1 championship(s) in the next 4 years while Red Bull and Team will perfect the Hondia engine for Mclaren Team use after that winning spree. It will be very sweet for Renault F1 fans and raise the F1 interests world-wide!"

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