Valtteri Bottas feels he can empathise with Sergio Perez as he battles Max Verstappen for the 2023 Formula 1 world title.
During his five-year spell at Mercedes, Bottas was able to beat Lewis Hamilton on occasion in both qualifying and races, but was unable to sustain his bid for the title over the course of a season.
The Finn won 10 races to Hamilton's 50 between 2017 and 2021, finishing runner-up in both 2019 and 2020.
He ultimately left for Alfa Romeo for 2022, and feels in a similar position to Perez - who is fighting reigning double champion Verstappen for a maiden title this term.
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Bottas on similar Perez battle
"I can kind of relate to him that he's trying to find something new every year in trying to beat his teammate," Bottas observed of Perez - who has won in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.
"I think he's had a pretty decent season so far, and time will show for sure, but it's not going to be easy [for him to beat Verstappen].
"[It was] very difficult [to accept that Lewis was faster] and it was 2021 when I could admit that Lewis was faster.
"It took five years for me to accept, but it is not easy. As a driver, you want to be the best.
"I felt like until a certain point in the season [I could always fight Lewis for the title] and it's just about how different teams work, what they decide, when they decide what is good for them.
"But yes they can support both drivers the same and I definitely felt like I had that opportunity every year and then at some point, there was a decision obviously over who is going to [win]."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.