Ross Brawn has said he has been really impressed with Valtteri Bottas’ start to the season and how he has raised his game against Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas has two victories to his name already this season and currently has a one point gap to Lewis Hamilton in the World Championship standings.
Much has been made of a new and improved Bottas returning from the off-season and Brawn is the latest to praise the Finn for how he has been able to take the fight to Hamilton.
“Valtteri Bottas has managed to raise his game to fight against an extraordinary champion in Lewis Hamilton,” Brawn said.
“I have seen for myself how a driver can suffer, consciously or not, from being in the same team as a truly great champion and Lewis is one of the greatest we have seen.
“It can be incredibly intimidating and cause a driver to fall below their true ability. Getting out of that mindset can be difficult and takes a lot of effort, especially on the mental side.
“Valtteri has managed it and he has shown grit and determination in the first four races and especially in the way he has taken the fight to Lewis in qualifying has been really impressive.
“The duel between the two Mercedes drivers is definitely wide open, with Bottas and Hamilton only separated by the point scored by Bottas for fastest lap in Australia.”
Mercedes are already threatening to run away with the World Championship after four consecutive 1-2 finishes, but Brawn cannot rule out a Ferrari revival just yet.
He added: “At the moment, a negative response would seem logical, given that Mercedes has taken four consecutive one-two finishes, but I feel there is still time for Ferrari to fight back, as it showed in two of the four races that it has what’s needed to win.”