'No more excuses' for Valtteri Bottas this season - Lewis Hamilton
Valtteri Bottas will have "no excuses" in 2018, according to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas joined Mercedes at the beginning of last year, following a late switch from Williams, and many offered the Finnish driver some time to adapt, given the minimal period he had to position himself within his new surroundings.
Although Bottas claimed pole in only his third race for the team and followed that up with his maiden victory at the next event in Russia, emerging as a title contender, he struggled mid-season, and dropped out of contention for overall honours.
However, Bottas rallied and claimed back-to-back pole positions to cap the campaign, which he ended atop the podium after beating Hamilton in a straight fight in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton – who took the title in his second year with Mercedes (2014) – claims Bottas now has no excuses not to perform on the same level as himself in 2018, now that he's spent a full year with the team.
"It’s difficult coming to a new team and learning new ways, new controls and now he’s gone through the whole learning process, he’s going to hit the ground running," Hamilton said.
"So there’s no more excuses for sure."
When asked if he expected Bottas to be harder to beat this year, the four-time champion replied: "No, but I would say that about anyone, it’s nothing about Valtteri.
"He did great in the last couple of races which is awesome and I’m expecting him to be in tip-top shape for the season.
"Do I expect him to be closer? I assume so. I’d have to assume he’s going to be in the best shape possible. But then again, so am I."