Bottas ‘won’t panic’ if Hamilton is faster


Although Valtteri Bottas edges Lewis Hamilton in pre-season testing, the Finn concedes that he’s on a “steep” learning curve at Mercedes and won’t panic if his team-mate is faster come Australia.

This season is Bottas’ first as a Mercedes driver as the former Williams man was signed to replace the retired Nico Rosberg.

Joining Mercedes, he will take on the formidable challenge of partnering Hamilton, the winner of three World titles.

But while Bottas had the edge in testing, he acknowledges that may not be the case come the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

And should Hamilton pull in front, he insists he will watch and learn, not panic.

“For sure I won’t give up,” the 27-year-old told German newspaper Bild.

“And I won’t panic if Lewis is quicker.

“From the first race I have to be right there, even if I know that my learning curve is steep.

“Lewis is a real benchmark.

“For me, it will be interesting to see how he sets up the car and how his driving style works.

“I’m watching a triple World Champion at work so to not use that opportunity would be stupid.”

Bottas, though, is confident that he is up to the challenge.

“I can deliver,” he added.

“I know I was lucky with Nico retiring.

“It was always my goal to be in a world-class car some day, and thanks to him this has now become a reality.

“Honestly, I feel no more pressure than before.

“I simply know that I have been given a special opportunity to drive the best Formula One car ever.

“I have much more to win than lose.”