Lewis Hamilton expects Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to mount a serious challenge for Drivers’ Championship glory during 2018.
British ace Hamilton claimed his fourth world title this year and he did so courtesy of a strong second-half of the season that saw him finish 46 points ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton’s team-mate, Bottas, finished a further 12 points off the pace in third position, but it was an overall good performance from the Finn, who only joined Mercedes two months before the start of the season.
Indeed, Bottas highlighted his impressive start to life with Mercedes by winning three races during 2017 and Hamilton was certainly impressed by how quickly his team-mate got to grips with life at the German outfit.
“Valtteri’s been an amazing team-mate this year,” Hamilton told reporters.
“It’s not easy at all to go to a team for the first year, particularly as you already had plans to be somewhere else at the beginning of the year.”
Hamilton is expecting a strong title challenge from Bottas during 2018 and he knows he will have to be at his best to keep the 28-year-old at bay.
“He’s very strong minded and he came back and finished up strong so I anticipate he’s going to be stronger next year, so I’m going to make sure I’m on my toes,” the Brit added.
Hamilton is priced at 2.20 to claim a fifth world title next season, while Bottas is available at 15.00 to secure his maiden championship crown.