Moving to Mercedes and going head-to-head with Lewis Hamilton could end Valtteri Bottas’ Formula 1 career, according to Hamilton’s father, Anthony.
Hamilton Sr. acted as Lewis’ manager through the early part of his career until 2010, and also worked with British F1 driver Paul di Resta for part of his time in the sport.
Lewis Hamilton will be joined at Mercedes this year by Valtteri Bottas, who replaced Nico Rosberg following the German’s decision to retire from F1 after winning the world championship last year.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Hamilton Sr. said that his son is yet to peak, making the proposition of working in the same team as the three-time world champion a daunting one for Bottas.
“Anybody who goes up against Lewis needs to have planned their career correctly because it could be a career-ending move,” Hamilton Sr. said.
“I personally think, while he’s getting older and more mature, he’s still actually heading towards the prime of his career.
“So Lewis is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.
“Lewis only ever thinks about winning. He’s happy for Nico, like we all are to be quite honest. We’ve known him a long time and Nico has really worked hard.
“You need a little bit luck along the way, and he’s had that, but I think Lewis is just looking forward now to winning the championship back on his own merit.”
Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff has already said that Bottas is doing a good job of filling Rosberg’s shoes at the team following his arrival last month.
Bottas will enter his fifth F1 season in 2017, having claimed nine podium finishes with Williams over the past four years and recording a best finish of fourth in the drivers’ championship in 2014.