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Christian Horner has his say on Mercedes’ decision to pick Valtteri Bottas

With just over a week to go until the start of the new Formula One season, everyone is trying to get the insider knowledge on what to expect from the upcoming campaign.

Well, one thing is for sure. Mercedes will be the team to beat once again in 2017.

But with last season's world champion Nico Rosberg now retired, we might be on the verge of witnessing another engrossing new title rivalry within the British team.

Ex-Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was the man chosen to fill Rosberg's seat and will know exactly what to expect from his teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Following a series of public spats with his old Mercedes colleague and missing out on the title, Hamilton will be itching to win a fourth driver's championship this time around.

But just how Bottas will fare with the heightened expectations of his new team is still a bit of a mystery.

According to the boss of one of Mercedes' most likely rivals this year, the Finn is well suited for a run at glory.

Red Bull chief Christian Horner thinks Mercedes made a smart move by going for Bottas and backs him to push Hamilton all the way.

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"I think Valtteri Bottas was a good choice for Mercedes," Horner said, as per Crash.net.

"Williams' loss was Mercedes' gain. I am sure he'll be competitive as he has been very quick in the lower formulas so I wouldn't dismiss him to being just a number two just at the moment."

Of course, Horner must be feeling somewhat relieved that neither of his drivers were pinched by Mercedes during the off-season, after reports suggested there had been some interest from Niki Lauda.

Horner revealed that a brief conversation did take place but he was pleased both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will be racing for Red Bull again this year.

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He added: "I'm very comfortable with our two drivers we've got and wouldn't want any others.

“Niki [Lauda] likes to talk as well all know and he does a lot of talking. He made an enquiry but it was quite a short call."

It is now down to Bottas to prove his doubters wrong and show he can perform in a title-challenging car – starting with next week's Australian Grand Prix.


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