“It's not going to be easy’ – Nico Rosberg on Valtteri Bottas vs Lewis Hamilton in F1 2017
Nico Rosberg has offered his thoughts on Mercedes’ new Formula 1 recruit Valtteri Bottas and warned his replacement that he will not find it easy...
Nico Rosberg has offered his thoughts on Mercedes’ new Formula 1 recruit Valtteri Bottas and warned his replacement that he will not find it easy to go up against Lewis Hamilton.
The 2016 world champion stunned F1 when he announced his retirement from the series just five days after clinching the title at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes confirmed earlier this week that it had signed Bottas to race alongside Hamilton in 2017 and it has also kept Rosberg in the fold as an ambassador.
At his first event in his new role, which took place in Geneva on behalf of Mercedes’ sponsor IWC Schaffhausen watches, Rosberg broadcast a Facebook Live video where he commented on Bottas’ appointment.
He said: “I think it's great news for the team. I'm happy that they found a great solution quite quickly, [and] that's awesome. I'm sure he's going to do a really, really good job and he is going to blend in well.”
But the 31-year-old also issued a warning for Bottas about what it takes to compete against Hamilton, who raced at Mercedes alongside Rosberg from the start of 2013 until the end of last season.
“I'm going to be sitting in front of TV, watching the action, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Valtteri gets on,” Rosberg said. “Especially against Lewis because he is an awesome reference point, he's one of the best out there and one of the best of all time. It's not going to be easy for sure, so it's going to be interesting to follow.”
Rosberg knows better than most just what it takes to be Hamilton’s teammate and title rival. He is one of only two drivers to have outscored the triple world champion over the course of a season in the same car, the other being Jenson Button, who outscored Hamilton during the 2011 season when they both raced for McLaren.
Bottas arrives at Mercedes with a 100 per cent record of beating his teammate in the championship standings since he made his F1 debut in 2013. He defeated Pastor Maldonado that year and then finished above Felipe Massa in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 standings.
He also scored nine podiums finishes to Massa’s five during Williams’ resurgence since 2014, but there is a perception that he didn’t defeat the veteran Brazilian driver, who will stay on in place of Bottas at the Grove-based team for 2017, as comprehensively as many expected him to.
Bottas’ new teammate, Hamilton, is an altogether different competitor. He has 53 F1 wins, and heads into 2017 determined to reclaim the title he did not expect to lose to Rosberg.
Mercedes has said its two drivers are free to race each other and, as their collision in Bahrain last season showed, Bottas is not afraid to challenge Hamilton if he sees an opportunity. But things will be very different now they race for the same squad.
The Finn has his first real chance to score his maiden F1 win, an opportunity that may mean he naturally raises his game. But a title campaign is another challenge and one where Hamilton has plenty of experience.
But with no guarantees of a long future at Mercedes for Bottas, the need to establish himself as a driver capable of delivering the success the team now demands may mean he reaches new heights and delivers on the promising performances he has shown in the past.What do you make of Rosberg’s comments on Bottas’ appointment at Mercedes? Do you expect the Finn to challenge Hamilton in 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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