Lewis Hamilton makes blunt claim about Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 world title in 2017 with races to spare.

Bottas meanwhile, managed three victories and 13 podiums, but he finished 58 points behind his team-mate in the standings.

Mercedes have completed their pre-season testing in Barcelona, and while their first week was disrupted by the rain, Hamilton appears to be more comfortable in the new V09 model.

And while Bottas could be a potential roadblock to Hamilton winning his fifth world title, the Finn has been told in no uncertain terms that there are no more excuses for failure.

When asked whether Bottas can step things up this season, Hamilton said: “It’s not just about Valtteri. Last year it was difficult for him coming into a new team, learning new ways and new controls and I think that now he’s got through that whole learning process.

“So now I think he’s going to hit the ground running. There’s no more excuses.

“He did great in the last couple of races, which was awesome and I’m expecting him to be in tip-top shape for the season.

“Do I expect him to be closer? I assume so. I have to assume he’s going to be in the best shape possible.

“But then again so am I so that’s my goal.”

The new F1 season gets underway a week on Sunday at the Australian Grand Prix.

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