Valtteri Bottas: I know I can beat Lewis Hamilton
Valtteri Bottas insists he has what it takes to beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who is celebrating a sixth Formula One world title.
Mercedes, who have won a record six consecutive drivers' and constructors' title doubles, are expected to be front-runners again in 2020.
That is the last year before new technical regulations come in for 2021, and Bottas, having finished behind Hamilton in all three of his seasons with the German manufacturer, is eager to pose a more consistent challenge to the Briton.
Bottas finished 87 points behind Hamilton this year but feels the four race wins and five pole positions he earned over the season proved he has what it takes.
"For 2020, there are no major regulation changes in Formula One so that means I think it will be even closer competition with many teams," Bottas said in quotes to Sky Sports at a PETRONAS event to celebrate the team's 2019 campaign.
"Other teams, drivers, will play a part in the fight as well but obviously Lewis always is a difficult driver to beat.
"But I've been able to do it at times so I know I can do it."
The grid could have a very different look to by the time 2021 arrives, not least because Hamilton has been linked with a stunning move to Ferrari.
Now only one win away from Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' titles, Hamilton stressed it is key to appreciate the successes already achieved rather than look too far ahead.
"It's really, really important always to just be grateful for what I have at the moment," he said.
"Of course, we'll be in search for another championship, but in this sport you never know when that could be.
"It could be next year, it could be years. Some people don't even have one, so it's really important to be grateful for what we have."
Of the challenge ahead of him in 2020, Hamilton added: "Next year I think will be similar to this year.
"However, I think the competition is probably going to step up. You have seen this year McLaren have picked up, Red Bull have picked up their pace, you have seen some more teams are coming into the spot.
"It's a little bit easier to chase than it is to lead."