Valtteri Bottas insists he will not accept playing second fiddle to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and he is planning to mount a serious title challenge in 2018.
The Finn only joined Mercedes ahead of the 2017 season and he has enjoyed relative success throughout the campaign, claiming the first race victories and pole positions of his career.
The 28-year-old can also still pip Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to a second-place finish in the final Drivers’ Championship standings, although he will have to deliver some positive displays during the final races of the year in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Bottas admits he has made solid progress during his first year with Mercedes, but after watching team-mate Hamilton claim a fourth world title, he admits he now wants to challenge for overall glory himself and will therefore not settle for playing second fiddle.
“In a few occasions, not as many as I would have wanted, I managed to be ahead of him,” Bottas told Sky Sports News when asked about racing Hamilton in 2017.
“Even though he is a really, really good driver and very consistent, I also need to believe in myself. “I can’t put myself in a place of number two otherwise I would rather stay at home.”
Bottas claimed a second-place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix last time out and he will be hoping to build on that result during this weekend’s race in Brazil.
The former Williams driver has never finished higher than fifth at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, but he is priced at 11.00 to claim overall glory on Sunday.