Lewis Hamilton sees his team-mate Valtteri Bottas having a stronger season in 2018, as he says the Finn has “no more excuses”.
Bottas is entering his second season as Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport having replaced Nico Rosberg in January 2017. In his first year, the former GP3 champion scored three race victories.
But Bottas lost ground to Hamilton mid-way through 2017 as the Brit headed for a fourth world championship, raising questions over Bottas and his ability to take a championship fight to Hamilton.
While Bottas has already claimed that his team-mate is beatable, when asked if Bottas himself would be harder to beat in 2018, Hamilton told crash.net: “No. But I would say that about anyone.
“It’s not just about Valtteri. Last year it was difficult for him coming into a new team, learning new ways and new controls and I think that now he’s got through that whole learning process.
“So now I think he’s going to hit the ground running. There’s no more excuses.
“He did great in the last couple of races, which was 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 have to assume he’s going to be in the best shape possible.
“But then again so am I so that’s my goal.”