Valtteri Bottas says having George Russell as his team-mate at Mercedes does not bring any added pressure for him at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Bottas has trailed regular team-mate Lewis Hamilton throughout much of their four-year spell together but will be paired with Russell this weekend due to the Briton’s positive Covid-19 test.
Bottas will stay on at Mercedes for 2021, and Russell at Williams, but the youngster’s affiliation with the manufacturer means he is regarded as a firm candidate for a seat at the team long-term.
But Bottas has stressed that he is not regarding this weekend’s event as a potential shootout between the pair.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for George, a great opportunity to learn a lot and to show what he can do with the team,” he said.
“For my side, as a racing driver, of course you always want to be ahead of your team mate, whether if it’s Lewis Hamilton or George Russell or anyone else, it doesn’t matter.
“I have a job to do as well, for the last two races of the season, I have my own motivations, which is trying to win the remaining races – that’s, obviously, the only goal – and try to maximise all the learnings I can for next year to end the season on a positive way.
“That could probably help me at the start of next year. I have a contract for next year, I have clear targets for myself for next year, the team as well, so from my side it’s pretty simple. No pressure from my side.”
Bottas added that he was reminded of his own path in Formula 1, having joined Mercedes full-time in 2017 following four years at Williams.
“When I heard the knew I could fully relate to George, as I started with Williams as well and my first opportunity, then, outside from Williams was to race for Mercedes as well,” he said.
“I think I know, at least a bit, how it feels and I think I know that kind of feeling and approach going into the first race with the team.
“I think I don’t need to advise George, he’s obviously had some time in Formula 1, with the current spec of cars and doing a great job at Williams.
“He knows most of the team pretty well, so, for sure, that helps.
“We are a big, smart and really united team, so there’s a lot of support, to get up to speed and George knows how to drive.”