Two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen has an “extremely high expectation” for Valtteri Bottas to win his first title in 2020.
The Finn goes into his fourth season at Mercedes with confidence after mounting his best challenge yet to stop team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s dominance in 2019.
In the end Hamilton did comfortably win a sixth title, but Bottas has spoken regularly of his desire and belief in himself to claim the World Championship for himself.
It’s a big year for Mercedes, team boss Toto Wolff is being linked with a departure, while both Hamilton and Bottas are out of contract at the end of 2020.
But Hakkinen has an “extremely high expectation” that it will be Bottas’ year and backs him to win the title.
“Valtteri has a great position in Mercedes,” he told the F1 Nation podcast.
“He’s a mega-great driver. I am confident that he is better than ever, so I have an extremely high expectation for him to be world champion this year.
“That’s what we’ve been working very hard on for years, [gathering] all the qualities, all the tools for him to get there.”
Silly season has come early in 2020 with Bottas’ Mercedes seat reportedly being eyed up by Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the year, as well as Mercedes prospect George Russell.
Bottas has then been linked with the Renault seat to be vacated by Daniel Ricciardo.
Check out our brand new Torquing Point podcast as we continue to discuss the knock-on effect of F1’s silly season: