Valtteri Bottas: Mercedes' new man looks to emulate Finnish heroes

Story highlights

  • Bottas to partner Hamilton at Mercedes
  • Seeking to become 4th Finnish champion

(CNN)After replacing world champion Nico Rosberg at all-conquering F1 team Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas now has the chance to fulfill his undoubted talent.

The Finn's four seasons at Williams yielded nine podium finishes, but no wins, in 77 starts -- though that could (and should) change this year.
With the fastest and most reliable car on the F1 grid, Bottas is expected to push his new teammate, three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, throughout the 20-race calendar.
Ice fishing with the Flying Finn
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Ice fishing with the Flying Finn 04:11
Amazing views of Valtteri Bottas' childhood home
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"I feel like I have plenty to prove, not much to lose ... more to win -- I can't wait," Bottas told CNN's The Circuit.
    Watch the video above to learn more about the 27-year-old, who reveals his driver idol, favorite circuit, first car -- and a hidden talent.

    Finns in Formula One

    If Bottas can clinch his first world title this year, he will become the fourth driver from Finland after Keke Rosberg (1982), Mika Hakkinen (1998, 1999) and Kimi Raikkonen (2007) to do so -- an incredible feat for a country of 5.5 million people.
    Hakkinen has served as both hero and mentor -- the former McLaren star helped steer Bottas' career through the junior ranks.
    Bottas has impressed with his pace at preseason testing in Barcelona ahead of the season's opening race in Australia on March 26.