Mika Hakkinen believes Valtteri Bottas has what it takes to bring the challenge to teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2020 and become a world champion.
Since joining Mercedes in 2017, the Finn has watched teammate Hamilton achieve championship success each year, while he himself has bagged seven grand prix wins.
In 2019, Bottas ended the season second in the drivers' championship - a career-high for the 30-year-old, who made his F1 debut in 2013 with Williams.
But Hakkinen, who is part of Bottas' management team, has predicted that his compatriot will be stronger than ever this year and win the world championship.
“Valtteri has a great position in Mercedes,” said Hakkinen, speaking on the F1 Nation podcast. “He’s a mega great driver, and I am confident that he’s better than ever.
“I have an extremely high expectation for him to be world champion this year – and that’s what we’ve been working very hard on for years, [giving him] all the qualities, all the tools for him to get there. He’s been working hard.”
Hakkinen also provided his thoughts on his former team McLaren, who provided Hakkinen with two world drivers' titles in the late 90s.
After a handful of difficult seasons, the Woking-based squad achieved its first podium results since 2014 last year, and consistently competed at the front of the midfield to secure fourth place in the constructors' championship.
Hakkinen affirms that the team is in a good place and is on a path back to success, adding that nothing currently needs to be changed from within.
“Well since Zak Brown took charge, not so long after that I joined back to the McLaren family [as an ambassador] and I felt they had a huge motivation kick, from everyone inside the team, to move forward in every sector,” Hakkinen said.
“I don't feel anything needs to be changed. I think how they're doing it [now], they're doing a brilliant job.”
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