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Formula 1

Bottas can challenge Hamilton - Wolff

6th January 2019, 10:57 by James Mason

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is adamant Valtteri Bottas has the quality to take on team-mate Lewis Hamilton this year.

Bottas, who finished third in the Drivers' Championship in his debut season with the Silver Arrows in 2017, failed to pick up a single victory in the 2018 campaign and ended up fifth in the world title race.

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton managed to land his fifth world crown, fending off the challenge from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, and the Briton is already being tipped to add a sixth trophy to his collection this year.

Reports have linked Esteban Ocon with a seat at Mercedes in 2020, putting the pressure on Bottas to succeed, but Wolff is confident the Finn can mount a serious challenge for glory in the upcoming season.

"We are seeing the best Lewis that I've seen in the last six years, and there is a reason why he is a five-time world champion," he said. "Beating a five-time world champion at the peak of his activity, the peak of his performance is going to be very difficult and Valtteri knows that. But I think that he has it in him.

"I think that he can win – he has proven it this year on a few occasions, but he had bad luck or was in a position where he could not win. I think if that turns into a positive momentum that is actually driving for the championship, I think that Valtteri can win the championship."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.

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