Wolff: Bottas ticks all the right boxes for us

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is confident that the team has chosen the right driver in Valtteri Bottas to take over from Nico Rosberg as Lewis Hamilton's team mate in 2017 - while revealing who else he would have liked to have seen in the race seat.

"Putting in a new factor with Valtteri - a very apolitical guy - gives us new opportunities, gives us maybe more time in managing other things than the relationship between the drivers," Wolff told BBC Radio 5 Live this week, admitting that not having to constantly mediate between warring drivers would be a nice change.

But that wasn't to say that Wolff expected a smooth ride now that Bottas was on board, or that the Finn would allow Hamilton to roll over him.

"You cannot hope for a guard dog in the car and then have a puppy outside the car, so I'm have no illusion there will be a situation where it will be difficult," explained Wolff.

"Valtteri has won junior categories and has been very competitive, and clearly that doesn't come because he's always easy to deal with. So I don't expect this to be much of a smooth ride, but Valtteri is the one that fits Nico's shoes the best."

Wolff said that there had been plenty of options for Mercedes when they were casting around for a replacement for Rosberg, who shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from Formula One just five days after clinching the 2016 world championship.

"We had a choice of young drivers who are exciting but not as experienced as we would have wished. Some of the big stars as well.

"But Valtteri was the best choice for us in ticking the boxes that we thought would be necessary to keep the dynamics between the drivers and also help us in continuing to develop the car."

But Wolff revealed that he had been tempted by the risky option of signing Fernando Alonso, Hamilton's team mate for a tempestuous season at McLaren in 2007.

"If I put myself in the fans' shoes, I'd like to have Fernando in there - the old rivalry of 2007 happens again," Wolff admitted. ""But from a team's perspective it's just something that wouldn't go.

"There is history, and that year was particularly painful for Mercedes as being the partner of McLaren back in the days.

"But then of course, people mature and people change, and it would have been an exciting line-up - but maybe just a tiny bit too exciting for us."

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