Cape Town - Valtteri Bottas has said he is going to be in for a "difficult year" trying to beat Lewis Hamilton, but believes he can.
Hamilton is the clear favourite to land what would be a fourth World Championship for the Brit, while Bottas is third favourite behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel."It's going to be a difficult year against Lewis," Bottas told The Times.
"He's a great driver and a champion and I haven't won a race so in theory the odds are for him. But I know what I'm capable of in a winning car."
Bottas has been given a one-year deal by Mercedes, but the Finn wants to do everything in his power to extend his stay with the Silver Arrows.
"I know this is a special opportunity and I have a lot of things to prove to secure my place for the long term," he added."That's how it goes. I'm fine with it. It's a massive opportunity for me this season to prove myself. I'm only here to win. That's the only thing."
Prior to pre-season, team-mate Hamilton expressed his frustration over the fact that he has to share his data with the other side of the Mercedes garage. But, Bottas has said he has experienced no problems thus far over the issue.
He said: "We have both been keen on sharing data. There are no issues with that. We have been very open, both ways. Our meetings have been very productive."