Ahead of their first campaign as Mercedes team-mates, Valtteri Bottas has been warned that taking on Lewis Hamilton could be a “career-ending move.”
This year Bottas has joined Mercedes, replacing retired World Champion Nico Rosberg.
Last season the German beat Hamilton to the World title for the first time but, with the trophy in his hands, declared that he did not have it in him to put in what is required for another hard-fought campaign.
Instead Mercedes brought in Bottas from Williams believing that in the Finn they have a driver that can take on the challenge of Hamilton.
However, the Brit’s father, Anthony, has warned of the perils that could lie ahead.
“Anybody who goes up against Lewis needs to have planned their career correctly because it could be a career-ending move when you go up against Lewis,” Hamilton Snr told Sky Sports News HQ.
“I personally think, while he’s getting older and more mature, he’s still actually heading towards the prime of his career. So Lewis is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”
He added that losing the title to Rosberg last season will be added motivation for Hamilton to reclaim the crown that he won in 2008, 2014 and again in 2015.
“Lewis only ever thinks about winning. He’s happy for Nico, like we all are to be quite honest. We’ve known him a long time and Nico has really worked hard.
“You need a little bit luck along the way, and he’s had that, but I think Lewis is just looking forward now to winning the championship back on his own merit.”
In a separate interview with Newsweek, Hamilton Snr explained why he believes his son can be a “career killer.”
He said: “Rightfully so, he believes he’s unbeatable and he is, on a good day he is unbeatable and so he’s not surprised that people find it tough to stay the course.
“But you know, my own personal view is that anyone who goes up against Lewis really needs to have their career mapped out for them. Because it’s a career killer. Lewis kills drivers. Actually that’s not a statement.
“He gets under your skin, because he is fast like hell. And you can’t figure out how he’s developed the car, how he has got the speed, how he can take that corner, how he can take that lane and it screws with your head.
“That’s the thing. You can’t calculate it, you can’t figure it out. He just has that feeling. And when the chips are down, that’s when the best comes out of Lewis.
“So you can test on the Friday, test on the Saturday, qualify and if the car’s not working, he just comes back and drives the pants off it on Sunday and forgets all about the Friday test and the Saturday test. Now how do you figure that out?”