Nico Rosberg has warned Mercedes' new signing Valtteri Bottas not to 'expect an easy ride' when he teams up with Lewis Hamilton for the upcoming 2017 Formula One season.
The Finn was signed as a replacement for the reigning Drivers' world champion, who announced his retirement five days after winning the title for the first time in his career. Mercedes motor sport boss Toto Wolff admitted that the team were left compromised in their search, but eventually convinced Williams Racing to part with their lead driver.
Bottas has already been warned about being teammates with the three-time world champion with the Briton's father calling it a 'career-ender' and Rosberg has now reiterated the difficult task facing his replacement when the season gets underway on 26 March in Australia.
The 27-year-old former Williams driver, however, has made it clear that he is unfazed by the threats and is solely focused on fighting for the championship with his new teammate. He also revealed that he had a good talk with Rosberg about life as a driver of the most dominant team in F1 at the moment.
"I would tell him, 'Don't expect an easy ride,' that's for sure," Rosberg said as quoted by the Times. "It's going to be challenging coming into a new team with Lewis having been there for so many years."
"Well, I wouldn't want to be my teammate, either. Let's wait and see. The season starts soon, so we'll see how it goes," Bottas said about recent comments from Hamilton's father regarding the dangers of associated with being the Briton's teammate, as quoted by Autoweek.
"My goal is the championship, I really have the opportunity to get it," Bottas told Finnish broadcaster MTV, as quoted by ESPN. "The immediate objective is to fight against him. We expect to be able to roll many kilometers in the winter tests and, if all goes well, we will have a reliable and fast car."
"It was good to talk to him. Nico has been in the box for a long time and knows perfectly how things work from the pilot's point of view."
Bottas has just one year to impress the Mercedes hierarchy and convince them that he can compete with Hamilton on the same level as his predecessor. He was offered a one-year deal with Wolff confirming that the team could look to sign Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso for 2018 as they will be out of contract with their respective teams Ferrari and McLaren.