By Nathan Salt For Mailonline
Published: 23:50 BST, 11 April 2019 | Updated: 23:50 BST, 11 April 2019
Valtteri Bottas does not need to match team-mate Lewis Hamilton to secure a new deal at Mercedes, feels 2016 Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg was the last man to beat five-time winner Hamilton to the drivers' world championship and since being replaced by Bottas, Mercedes has had just one driver in contention for the sport's top prize.
But while pressure from the outside appears to be mounting on Bottas after he failed to win a single race in the 2018 season, Rosberg insists that he can merit a new deal on more than just whether he can be competitive in the title race.
Valtteri Bottas can earn a new Mercedes title without a world title, insists Nico Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton is the favourite in Mercedes to go and lift a sixth drivers' world championship
'Every year is important and it is always going to be a difficult year against Lewis (Hamilton),' Rosberg said.
'Of course it is important for Valtteri to keep performing and to keep showing he can win races and possibly also challenge for the title, too.
'Saying that, as long as it works so well, it is harmonious and even if Lewis dominates again, Valtteri doesn't have to be on one level with Lewis to merit staying on the team.
Rosberg, pictured in 2016, was the last driver to beat