Valtteri Bottas has reconfirmed his faith in Mercedes not implementing team orders from the start of the 2019 Formula 1 world championship and expects equal treatment alongside Lewis Hamilton.

The Finnish driver endured a frustrating end to last season when team orders at Mercedes were applied to maximise Hamilton’s hunt for a fifth F1 world championship after Bottas dropped out of the title fight.

Bottas felt the team orders pain acutely at the Russian Grand Prix when he had to move aside from the lead to allow Hamilton to win, in the process fending off a late attack from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, which became a major moment in the Finn’s winless campaign last year.

Looking for a fresh start in 2019, Bottas says Mercedes won’t prioritise either driver from the start of the season – with Ferrari set to help Vettel over new recruit Leclerc – but accepts if a similar situation to last year occurs he will be at risk again.

“I have no concerns, because we have agreed something already a couple of years back and it’s going to be up to my performance,” Bottas said. “Obviously we’ll see how the season goes.

“Last year there was a big gap between Lewis and myself, then things were slightly different. It’s going to be up to me, so no concerns.

“My target for the year is to win as much as I can, I didn’t win a single race last year, and there is only one target for the whole season – the world championship – for me personally and also for us, as a team.”

Bottas comes under new pressure in 2019 with Esteban Ocon taking up the Mercedes’ reserve F1 driver role after missing out on a race seat for this season. The Finn has a one-year contract at the reigning champions with Mercedes holding an option of a one-year extension for 2020.



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