New Mercedes driver Bottas speaks of Hamilton respect

Valtteri Bottas has spoken of his respect for new team-mate Lewis Hamilton and is sure the pair can continue Mercedes' habit of winning in Formula One this season.

F1's worst-kept secret was finally confirmed on Monday as Bottas was announced as Nico Rosberg's replacement at the German manufacturer, with Felipe Massa reversing his retirement to spend another season at Williams.

Rosberg, who retired last month five days after winning his maiden F1 world title ahead of Hamilton, had a notoriously strained relationship with the three-time world champion.

Yet Bottas is confident he and Hamilton will push each other for the benefit of the team.

"I think with Lewis we can be a strong pair together," Bottas said in a live video streamed on Mercedes' official website.

"I really respect him as a driver and a person. He's so quick; we all know how quick he is.

"I am sure we are going to be close and pushing each other forward, but the main thing is I'm sure we'll work as a team together and help the team as much as we can."

Bottas has never a won race in F1 but does have nine podium finishes to his name and is confident of finally standing on the top step after securing a move to the constructors' champions.

"Obviously this is my fifth season in F1, I've got nine podiums with Williams and still missing my first win. That is my first goal and we will go from there," he added.

"It's been an amazing day for me, we did the contract. Obviously, for me, I have been dreaming a long time to drive for a team like this - a team of champions.

"So, I'm really proud to be part of this, what you [Mercedes] have achieved in the last few years and the history of Formula One, I'm made up to be driving a Silver Arrows myself this year.

"I'm ready to work hard, to prove myself to the team and to prove my skills. It's going to be a challenging season and joining a new team makes it more work than normal.

"But I'm 100 per cent ready for that. I'm training hard to be at my physical best because it will be much tougher with these new cars.

"I always set the bar really high, so my target is to perform from the first race. I'm full of energy and ready to get to work for this year and hopefully many more to come with Mercedes."

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