Thursday 16 February at 09:35 :
Feb.16 (GMM) Valtteri Bottas has played down reports that he is already a big financial winner in 2017.
A report has emerged claiming the Finn's annual earnings are leaping from EUR 3 million with Williams to a cool 8 million for 2017 after signing with Mercedes.
The Finnish media says the 27-year-old now earns more than his countryman Kimi Raikkonen, but Bottas insisted: "I don't know where those numbers come from and I don't like talking about it. It's not public information though.
"It is just the usual speculation," Bottas told the Finnish news agency Suomen Tietotoimisto.
He also played down reports that Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda has given Bottas only four races to get up to speed in 2017 as an effective replacement for the retired Nico Rosberg.
"I have not been told of any schedule," Bottas insisted. "Of course, the team expects good results from me, and I have to deliver."
Mercedes has signed just a one-year contract with Bottas, with Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony Hamilton warning that his son is a "career killer".
Bottas responded: "Many people think this is a risk for my career, but I see it exactly the other way around. For me it's just a ridiculously good opportunity. It is the first time I have got the chance to prove what I can do.
"Nico has already showed that it is possible to beat Lewis. Of course he (Hamilton) is a triple world champion and I haven't won any races, but I don't see any reason why we can't be evenly matched."