Valtteri Bottas is hoping to challenge Lewis Hamilton for race wins on a more regular basis in 2018 and is confident that he is capable of beating his more illustrious Mercedes teammate and fighting for the title.
The Finn joined the Silver Arrows team at the start of last year following the shock retirement of 2016 Formula 1 Drivers' world champion Nico Rosberg. Despite taking some time to adapt to his new surrounding after four years with Williams, he quickly showed that he had the speed to compete with the front runners.
Bottas won three races during the 2017 campaign and finished in third place in the drivers' standings behind Hamilton, who won his fourth title, and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. He was on a one-year deal until the end of last season, but Mercedes were convinced enough to hand him a new deal until the end of the 2018 campaign.
The only concern both from the driver and the team was that he was inconsistent with his performances. He was unable to turn up with the same speed at all Grand Prix, which allowed Vettel to split the Mercedes drivers in the standings for the first time since the V6 Turbo era started.
The 28-year-old is keen to right his lack of consistency this season and is confident that he can regularly challenge Hamilton on the track. Bottas also made it clear that he is not worried about causing tension between the two drivers by performing at a higher level.
Bottas and Hamilton enjoyed a cordial relationship on and off track during their first season together and it was nothing like the latters with his former teammate Rosberg. They endured a frosty relationship one field with on-track collisions and off-track mind games.
The former Williams driver is ready to cause some tension, but is confident that it will bode well for the team, who will reap the benefit of both their drivers performing at a high level. Bottas insists that Hamilton, despite being one of the top drivers on the grid, is beatable and the Finn has made it his mission to try and get one over his teammate.
"I would like to put more pressure on Lewis on track and be battling wheel-to-wheel with him more often than last year," Bottas said, as quoted by the Express.
"If I perform well, then that will naturally cause some tension (between us). That can be a positive thing and makes both of us try even more to leave no stones unturned in terms of performance and keeps us pushing even more.
"Toto Wolff wants us both to be performing on a 100 per cent level, and that can provide some healthy competition.
Lewis is beatable. He is definitely the toughest team-mate I have ever had and he is one of the best drivers ever in Formula One," he added.
"He was the best driver last season, but there is no driver which is unbeatable. I believe in myself and I believe in the things I have learned in the five years since I have been in the sport.
"I was able to show that I can do it at many races last year – maybe not during all of them – but I know it is there and I know it is possible, so that is my thinking going into the new season," the former Williams driver explained.