With a win last time out vaulting the Finnish star into the championship battle, can Bottas genuinely fight for the title, or will Mercedes deploy him in a supporting role to Hamilton? If you asked around the Formula One paddock in January, very few people would have placed any money on last minute Mercedes recruit Valtteri Bottas taking the fight to team number one Lewis Hamilton this season, but with nine races down that is exactly what the low key Finn has done during the opening rounds of the 2017 Grand Prix season. With two race victories against his much more established team mates three, and sitting pretty in the drivers championship a mere 15 points behind Hamilton in P2, Valtteri Bottas has done a remarkable job of silencing some of his many critics heading into his first season away from the family environment of his former Williams team. Not only has Bottas done a solid job of matching the #44 Mercedes in race trim this year, Bottas has show a blinding turn of speed when the cars hit the track on Saturday afternoons, wrestling his AMG Mercedes car into front row starts on three occasions, beating Hamilton on four of those sessions and proving that both savvy race craft and outright single lap pace are both well within the drivers new found set of skills. Breaking into the Mercedes tight knit community this year can't have been an easy task for Bottas, with the team having enjoyed some incredible success with Hamilton and former team mate Nico Rosberg since coming back into the sport at the beginning of 2010. With three Drivers World Championships and numerous race wins for Hamilton already in the bag, plus a kings ransom salary enjoyed by the Englishman, will Mercedes be willing to allow the new kid on the block a chance at fighting for the title this season, potentially diluting the overall chances of a team up against a newly resurgent Ferrari squad who have firmly backed their own multiple World Champion, Sebastian Vettel? For many years Ferrari operated a very obvious number 1 / number 2 system in Maranello, to the benefit and tremendous success of one Michael Schumacher, and no doubt with a Kimi Räikkönen obviously past the best form of his career, 2017 could be another opportunity for the Prancing Horse to do such a thing again and give itself the best chance of securing a much coveted first WDC since Räikkönen in 2007. No doubt the spectacular way in which McLaren threw away the championship in '07 by allowing then team mates Hamilton and Alonso to fight it out to the very end will be uppermost in the minds of both teams this season, but will Mercedes allow itself to compromise their 'let them race' strategy of years past? These kinds of decisions have always been easier when one has easily the best car on the grid, as have Mercedes in recent seasons, but now the heat is really on the silver cars will a fair battle between the two drivers be allowed again this year, or do the team place the full support of the organisation behind a driver that has proven times many he is capable of taking the fight to the very best? What do you think they should do... ?