VALTTERI BOTTAS believes he can beat Lewis Hamilton to the Formula One championship after declaring he has not joined Mercedes to settle for second place.
Hamilton will be partnered by the 27-year-old Finnish driver for the new season, which gets under way in Melbourne next month.
Bottas, who is yet to claim a race win in the sport, is expected to play second fiddle to the triple world champion.
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But the former Williams driver believes Nico Rosberg's title triumph over Hamilton last season - despite the Briton winning more races - proves his new team-mate is not untouchable.
"I feel it is possible," said Bottas when asked if he could get the better of Hamilton. "Nico showed beating Lewis is possible.
"I am not here to be in second place or worse. It is definitely a challenge and going up against Lewis is always going to be a challenge, but for me a massive opportunity.
"I respect what he [Hamilton] has done with his career, so many poles, wins and three titles - I still don't have a race win - so I have a lot to prove, but everything is still ahead so it is going to be an exciting year."
Hamilton endured a number of reliability issues last season en route to losing his title to Rosberg.
The German however, will not defend his championship after choosing to quit in the days after he ended his long-running losing streak to Hamilton by virtue of finishing second at the season decider in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton and Rosberg endured a fractious relationship as they fought for the title, but Bottas envisages no such problems with the 32-year-old British driver.
"I see no obstacles for me and Lewis to work well together," Bottas, who was speaking to Germany's Sky Sports, added.
"I think we should be able to race hard, fair, be professional and work well as a team and as a good pair of team-mates should do."
Bottas has also sought advice from Rosberg ahead of the new campaign.
"I just sent a request that perhaps we could catch up before the season," Bottas said. "That would be very nice.
"Nico spent a long time with the team and knows every single person really well. At this point, for me, starting in a new team and trying to get that information from everyone will be a big help."
Mercedes will unveil their new car at Silverstone next Thursday with the opening pre-season test starting in Barcelona on February 27.
Meanwhile, The European Parliament has backed an investigation into "anti-competitive practices" in Formula One.
South East Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds called for an amendment to the parliament's annual competition report published in January.
The motion carried on Tuesday with 476 votes in favour and 156 against. The vote could now force the European Commission into launching an inquiry.
Dodds believes Formula One's smaller teams are "unfairly punished" by the way in which prize money is distributed.
Force India, who finished fourth in last season's constructors' championship, and Sauber both lodged a complaint to the EU on such grounds in 2015.
Manor, the British-based constructor, who ended last season at the bottom of the standings, collapsed in January and are unlikely to compete in the forthcoming campaign.
"I'm happy that today the European Parliament backed my call for a full and immediate investigation into anti-competitive practices in Formula One," said Dodds.
"A few weeks ago Manor Racing became the latest team in the south east of England to collapse after administrators failed to find a buyer.
"Smaller teams are unfairly punished by an uncompetitive allocation of prize money that will always give the biggest teams more money, even if they finish last in every race."
Dodds also expressed her concerns over Liberty Media's recent £6.4billion purchase of the sport. The FIA, Formula One's governing body, benefited from the sale.
Dodds added: "There is also significant conflict of interest over the recent sale of the sport to Liberty Media, after the regulator received a (US dollars) 79.5million (£63.7m) profit from authorising the sale.
"I have written a number of letters to the European Commission calling for a full investigation and I am grateful that the rest of the European Parliament has added its voice to this call.
"We must ensure that we don't lose even more highly skilled jobs in this sector and allow a sport loved by 500 million fans to become increasingly less competitive."