Valtteri Bottas was officially confirmed as Lewis Hamilton’s new Mercedes teammate on Monday after weeks of speculation.
Mercedes announced at the team's Brackley HQ that Bottas will take over the vacant role at the world champions, following Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from the sport in December.
Rosberg retired following his first Formula One championship win at the end of last season, where he narrowly edged teammate Hamilton to the F1 crown on the last race of 2016.
The move sees Bottas end a four-year association with Williams, with Felipe Massa coming out of retirement to replace the departing Finn.
Hamilton and Rosberg had a shaky relationship as Mercedes teammates, which will be something Mercedes want to avoid a repeat of during the 2017 campaign.
However, things seem to have got off to a good start for the new Mercedes duo, with Hamilton taking to his Twitter account following Monday's announcement to welcome Bottas to the team.
Despite insisting that he would not be satisfied just to play Hamilton’s understudy next season, Bottas was also full of praise for the three-time Formula One champ, claiming that he believed the two could build a strong partnership going forward.
He said: “I see no problem at all. I respect Lewis a lot, as a driver and as a person. We can push each other to the next level.”
You can see Hamilton's tweet below.
Despite his comments, many still believe that Bottas was chosen by Mercedes due to his uncontroversial nature, as Toto Wolff tries to avoid a repeat of the Hamilton-Rosberg feud which has taken place over the last three years and Wolff's comments during Monday's press conference will have done little to quieten this opinion.
“Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities,” Wolff said.
“Nico’s decision in December was a big surprise. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient, and we see this as a chance for us to grow. Valtteri is modest, humble and hard-working.”
Despite never winning a race in 77 starts, Bottas has claimed that with Mercedes behind him, he believes he can compete for the title with Hamilton next season.
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