Mika Hakkinen believes Valtteri Bottas can battle Lewis Hamilton for the Formula One drivers' title should he swap Williams for Mercedes.
Bottas has emerged as a strong favourite to replace Nico Rosberg at the Silver Arrows next season after the German sensationally retired five days following his 2016 championship success.
The Finn received the backing of Rosberg last month and former two-time F1 champion Hakkinen also thinks his compatriot is the right man for the seat.
And should Mercedes opt for the 27-year-old, Hakkinen would expect to see him picking up where Rosberg left off.
"I can imagine Bottas winning the championship," he told Finnish broadcaster MTV.
"When you get in that situation and in that team, which is at the top of a mountain and which has won championships and races, then it is a matter of developing yourself and getting those wins and the championship."
Hakkinen also described Mercedes' reported pursuit of Bottas as the "dream situation" for a driver looking to move within the paddock.
He added: "The situation for a driver cannot be any better than when you are wanted by a team, especially if it's a team like Mercedes that has dominated Formula One.
"It is a dream situation. We have to enjoy it and also take care that this continues into the future."