Having spent much of his rookie season hampered by an uncompetitive car, Valtteri Bottas says he is relishing the opportunity to show what he is capable of ahead of his second year with the rebranded Williams Martini Racing team.

Making his F1 debut with a team that would go on to endure its worst campaign in 36 years, Bottas's scant highlights would be limited to qualifying on the second row in a weather-affected Canadian Grand Prix and an impressive run to eighth during the United States Grand Prix.

However, it was Bottas's performance when measured against more experienced team-mate Pastor Maldonado that would help him secure contract extension with Williams, a move that has seemingly been vindicated by his strong showing in pre-season testing alongside new partner Felipe Massa.

Indeed, Bottas admits it was important for him to be granted a second year with the team in an effort to show what he can do in the car.

"It is an important year for me and for the team," he told Crash.net during an event to reveal the Martini-branded Williams team. "It's a really good opportunity to finally show what I can do on the track. There are a lot of changes so I think there is a really good chance to catch up. I think we have made good progress, but we need to keep pushing because everyone will improve very quickly."

Buoyed by a strong showing in testing for the Williams-Mercedes FW36, Bottas and Massa have been tipped by rivals as potential podium contenders once the season gets underway in Australia next week. However, the Finn is somewhat more cautious about his chances come race day.

"For the moment we can only guess. Definitely we are top ten and in the top five teams. Some good points would make me happy.

"I was asked earlier if I would be disappointed if I didn't finish on the podium, but I think that's silly. For us, if we don't reach the podium there is no point in being disappointed. If we finish the first race in the points, that'll be a good step compared to last year."



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