Bottas sees 'no issues' with Hamilton
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - New Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas expected 'no issues' with team mate Lewis Hamilton after stepping into the hottest seat in Formula One on Monday as retired world champion Nico Rosberg's replacement.
Triple world champion Hamilton, who won 10 of the 21 races last year, saw his relationship with boyhood karting rival Rosberg go from good to glacial during their tense time together.
Bottas will be the second Finnish driver Hamilton has had as a team mate, after Heikki Kovalainen at McLaren, and the 27-year-old was highly-regarded as a calm and quick team player at Williams.
While the Finn has yet to be beaten by a team mate over his four seasons in the sport, he faces a big task against Hamilton, second on the all-time list of winners with 53 grand prix victories.
"Lewis is going to be a great reference, everyone knows exactly how good he is, he's a great driver," said Bottas. "I am sure as a pair we can work well, I'm sure we can be good team players together.
"I don't know him that well yet but I'm looking forward to getting to know him better," he told Sky Sports television after being introduced to factory staff.
"I see no issues at all between us. I am sure we can work well together, push each other on the track hard, race fair but really hard and at the same time push the team together."
Hamilton's plan will be to dominate, as he did at McLaren in 2008 with Kovalainen who left Formula One with only one lucky victory to his credit, but Bottas could be a tougher nut to crack.
"My target is to perform from the very first race as well as the car can... get everything out of the car," he said. "I know I am capable of that. I know we will be very close with Lewis.
"Being able to be in such a great team with great history,(is) now potentially a chance to fight for the championship and for me the drivers' championship is the only goal in my life at the moment.
"The team has won many (titles), I haven't won any and I'm sure we share the same target. We want to win so we will go flat out," said Bottas. "Now it's time to turn a new page and go chasing for the win and then much, much more after that."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)