Being the dominant team in Formula One comes with some disadvantages, not least of all the tension between your drivers getting a little too much to handle. That’s a problem Mercedes have been trying to find a solution to over the past three years. The team want the battle on track, but keeping things sweet off track hasn’t been so easy. One suggestion has been to end the on track battle, and set first and second drivers. With Lewis Hamilton believed by many to be one of the strongest drivers in F1 at the moment, some have expected the team to favour the Brit as they go for their fourth consecutive driver championship. Mercedes’ new recruit, Valtteri Bottas, doesn’t expect that to happen. “I think Mercedes doesn’t have a number one or number two driver, and that’s pretty much up to me to perform,” he said. “As long as I do my job so that my performance on track is at the level the car should be, we’re good.” Bottas is heading into 2017 keen to show he’s earned his role at the team, and expects a tough challenge from his new teammate, but he thinks he will rise to the task. “For me, it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “For sure, it’s a big challenge, there’s no doubt I will definitely need to prove myself to a lot of people and to the team that I deserve the place, but I just see things very positively. I see it as a great opportunity for my career to fight for wins and hopefully even for the championship. “Going against Lewis, I am pretty excited about that. He’s a three-time world champion, he’s a great reference, and everyone knows how good he is as a driver. So it’s great to be the teammate to Lewis and I wish we can have a very strong year in this new era of Formula One.” If Mercedes aren’t going to put a stop to any on track battles, does that mean we can expected another heated rivalry off track? Well, probably not. For starters, Bottas doesn’t share the same relationship and history with Hamilton as Nico Rosberg did. The pair start with a relatively clean slate, and not an entire life of competing. Bottas has found working with Hamilton over testing “very good” and expects that to continue into the season. “In testing, we managed to work well as a team and there was a good team spirit the whole time,” he said. “I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue like that.” It’s too early to tell whether Bottas is right. We’ve yet to see the young Finn in the environment he’s in now. Not only is he in a car capable of winning a championship for the first time in his F1 career, he’s also up against a driver of a much higher standard than either of his previous two teammates. If Bottas is good enough to rise to the challenge on track (and we don’t know for sure yet if he will), it will be interesting to see how he reacts to any mind games off track. For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. Do you think Mercedes will let their drivers fight, or is it time for them to set first and second drivers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.