Lauda: Vettel is not part of Merc's plans

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The 2017 Formula One season is set to start in a week with the Australian Grand Prix.

With the fastest and most reliable vehicle on the F1 grid, Bottas is expected to push his new teammate, three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, throughout the 20-race calendar.

"For me it's a great opportunity", he continued.

For those who fear the Mercedes man will have it easy following the retirement of Nico Rosberg, the German team mate who beat him to the title while winning fewer races, there is an alternative scenario.

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Former Red Bull ace Vettel and veteran team mate Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari's most recent world champion in 2007, drew a blank in 2016 and have plenty of pressure on them to succeed.

Rosberg surprised everyone after he chose to retire at the end of last season and Coulthard feels Hamilton might do the same at the end of this season.

Both Lauda and team boss Toto Wolff have said that it is upon the Finn to clearly demonstrate through his performance and results this season that his talent warrants a second year at the Silver Arrows squad.

The Mercedes star narrowly missed out on the F1 crown past year to then-teammate Nico Rosberg but is favourite to finish top ahead of the season opener in Australia.

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Wolff is relishing the challenges ahead of his defending F1 world champions as Mercedes targets a fourth consecutive world drivers' and constructors' title clean sweep. After the first weekend in Australia we'll know where we are.

"Mercedes do not have a No 1, or a No 2 driver, so it is up to me to perform".

"I think he will increase the performance from Lewis as they [Mercedes] are always testing and developing the auto and the feeling [of the car]".

"Lewis is an emotional beast and there might be a situation where he just goes: "I've had enough and I don't want to do it, '" said Hill". In testing we managed to work well as a team and there was a good team spirit the whole time. "So it's great to be the teammate to Lewis and I just wish we can have a very strong year in this new era of Formula One". "I see no reason why it should not continue like that".

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