Valtteri Bottas has the quality to fight for the title and topple Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in 2019, according to his predecessor at the team, Nico Rosberg.
Bottas managed three wins during his debut season with the Silver Arrows in 2017 but failed to build on that last year, ending the campaign without a victory.
Rosberg, who won the drivers’ crown in 2016 when partnered by Hamilton before retiring at the end of the season, believes the Finn was unlucky at times but has backed Bottas to respond and fight for the championship next season.
Speaking at a promotional filming for Sky Sports F1, Rosberg said: “Valtteri is a lot better than he’s been able to show recently.
“With a new season starting again he has a good chance of establishing himself in a much stronger position and even really (be) annoying Lewis quite a lot.
“I think that’s possible. It always depends on how the season starts. “Last year he had a lot of bad luck as well. If the luck is on his side and he starts well, it could be a whole different situation.”
Bottas is rated at 17.00 to win the 2019 Drivers’ Championship while Hamilton is priced as the 1.75 favourite.
Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc are 4.33 and 9.00 respectively, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a 5.25 chance.