Lewis Hamilton’s father has issued a warning to Valtteri Bottas saying that going up against Hamilton could be a “career ending move”.

Bottas will be joining Hamilton at Mercedes this season after the team was forced into a reshuffle following the retirement of Nico Rosberg after winning the title last season.

Now Anthony Hamilton has said that Bottas, whose contract is thought to only be guaranteed for one year, will be going up against a triple world champion teammate who is at the peak of his powers.

Speaking this week he said, “Anybody who goes up against Lewis needs to have planned their career correctly because it could be a career-ending move when you go up against Lewis. I personally think, while he’s getting older and more mature, he’s still actually heading towards the prime of his career. So Lewis is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”

Last season was just the second time in Hamilton’s 10 seasons of F1 that he had been outscored by a teammate over a full campaign. While Rosberg’s decision to retire means that Hamilton can’t take him on directly for the title, his father said that the chance to do so would not have been an extra motivating factor.

“Lewis only ever thinks about winning,” he said. “He’s happy for Nico, like we all are to be quite honest. We’ve known him a long time and Nico has really worked hard.”

Hamilton is strong favourite to win the title this year despite F1’s change of rules regarding aerodynamic design. Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, the other British driver in the competition has agreed that Hamilton is favourite but thinks that Red Bull has the potential to challenge him.

“Valtteri will do a good job and I think he’ll push Lewis more than most people think. Red Bull should also be right there with them, so hopefully between those two there can be a tough fight. Lewis has got to be favourite, though, to start.”