Bottas: Pretty close behind Mercedes

Like many of his rivals, Valtteri Bottas is predicting that Mercedes will be the team to beat this season while behind them he expects a close battle.

Pre-season testing ended with a Mercedes 1-2 while Bottas and his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa were next in line ahead of the Ferrari pairing.

The Mercedes drivers, though, both set their fastest lap times at Barcelona on the soft tyres while the chasing pack used the slightly quicker supersofts and yet were still unable to beat them.

And it is that pace that has Bottas predicting that Mercedes go into the new season as the firm favourites.

"We know that Mercedes are still the team to beat," he told "And after that, I think it's pretty close. That's what we think at the moment."

The Finn, though, says Williams' preparations have "gone to plan I think.

"There's been no big surprises with the car and all the bits so far what we have put in the car have worked like we expected, so that's a good thing so far.

"We know that we still have work to do and plenty of room for improvements in different areas, so we'll see."

Pressed as to what are his goals for this season, Bottas revealed he had not get any targets for this year but that winning a World title was his ultimate ambition.

"For this year, as a result, I cannot say," he said. "My goals in the future is to not just be in Formula 1. I want to be really successful, World Champion, though I guess this is like everyone! But that is what I'm targeting.

"If we can be closer to Mercedes this year, that would be really good.

"For us as a team, we just need to keep making sure that we keep improving during the season because, like we did last year, we ended up being a much, much stronger team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the year."