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Bottas: 'I do not want to be in Lewis' shadow'

Valtteri Bottas-Mercedes
© XPB 

After eleven races with Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas is coming into his own and believes he has a real shot at winning the 2017 world championship.

Bottas, who has won twice this year with the Silver Arrows outfit,  is currently third in the drivers' standings, 33 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel and 19 points adrift from team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking to Germany's Sport Bild, the Finn dwelled once again on the subject of his team mate's sporting gesture in last Sunday's Hungarian GP.

"Not every teammate would have done that for a podium, but on the other hand, I would have been angry if Lewis had not accepted the deal," said Bottas.

"The team has made it clear right from the beginning that we are both treated and respected equally.

"We get the same equipment, there is no number 1 and number 2 driver, and I trusted that was the case. I am fighting for the world championship, as this is also about my own career.

"I do not want to be in Lewis' shadow," the quiet 27-year-old insisted.

Asked if he truly believes his can clinch the world title this season, Bottas said he had no doubts in his mind he can pull it off.

"Yes. I can become world champion," he said.

"There are still nine races to go, and I believe that I can beat Lewis and Sebastian -- I have already done both this year.

"I am getting better and better. There is no limit for me. I would never say that one of my opponents is better than me. I believe in myself."

Bottas' fate with Mercedes for next season has yet to be sealed, but all signs point to an extension of his contract with the German outfit.

"At this time of the year I often did not know how it would go on for me, so I have a lot of practice," he smiled.

"And it's ok, as I feel comfortable in the team and have only received positive feedback. So I'm not too worried."

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