Valtteri Bottas is confident he can deliver the performance levels demanded by Mercedes in 2017 when pitted against three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton is likely to be considered the de-facto number one driver in the team owing to his achievements with the team in the past three seasons. Bottas, on the other hand, joins with racing experience from his time with Williams, but is yet to win a Formula One race and battle consistently at the sharp end of the grid.
The Finn is relishing the challenge of going up against one of the best drivers on the grid and believes there is no hierarchy among drivers within the team. The 27-year-old is hoping that he can deliver the desired results and challenge for the championship in his debut campaign.
Toto Wolff has made it clear that he needs to be quick and deliver performance levels similar to his predecessor Nico Rosberg to have a long-term future in the team and the former Williams driver is confident that he can deliver. Bottas was handed just a one-year deal with the Mercedes chief hinting that the team could look at other options – Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are out of contract at the end of 2017 - for next season, if the Finn's performances are not up to standards.
"I don't fear that I will be the No 2 at Mercedes," Bottas was quoted as saying on Sky Sports. "Mercedes do not have a No 1, or a No 2 driver, so it is up to me to perform. As long as I do my job, which is to perform on the level where the car should be, we are all good and I know I can do it."
"I am very excited about going up against Lewis. He is a three-time world champion and a great reference point. Everybody knows exactly how good he is as a driver.
"It is great to be a team-mate of Lewis and I hope we can have a strong year in this era of Formula 1. In testing we managed to work well together and there was a good team spirit. I see no reason why it should not continue like that," the Finn explained.
"This team has been winning for the last three years so it is kind of a dream come true for me to be in a team like this. I always want to just focus on my job and work as a team. If we do our work perfectly, if I do my job perfectly, it's possible [to challenge for championship]. The goal for me is to start the season in a good way and get the results early on and continue from there."
Bottas will make his debut for Mercedes at the season opening Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on Sunday (26 March).