Ocon predicts season-long 'war' between Hamilton & Bottas

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Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon has predicted a season-long "war" between Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas.

The Frenchman is watching from the sidelines having been replaced at the renamed Racing Point team for this season but is keeping a close on Bottas' seat for 2020.

Right now, however, his chances appear slim as the Finn enjoys a strong start to the year with two wins and currently holds a one-point lead over the reigning world champion.

"There is a very, very good atmosphere," Ocon told broadcaster Canal +.

"I think that, of course, when you are a part of a team like this, which makes records every year and that performs as much, it motivates everyone.

"So, obviously, everything is going very well within the team."

However, with Mercedes dominating after a record four straight 1-2 finishes, it is raising the prospect of a Hamilton/Nico Rosberg type scenario with the only drivers going head-to-head for the title.

"I'm sure that Lewis will not want to stay behind Valtteri," Ocon noted.

"Valtteri will want to beat Lewis and Lewis will still want to beat Valtteri. So, I think it's going to be the war until the end of the season."

A breakdown in the relationship between the two drivers might just be the 22-year-old's best chance of earning a promotion for 2020.