Bottas can earn Mercedes deal without pushing Hamilton, says Rosberg
‘If he creates a great atmosphere and is good support for Lewis, that is also of high value’: Nico Rosberg feels Valterri Bottas can earn new Mercedes contract without pushing Hamilton for world championship
- Valtteri Bottas does not need a world title to stay at Mercedes, says Nico Rosberg
- The 2016 world champion says Bottas ‘creates a great atmosphere’ in the team
- Bottas failed to win a single race in 2018 but won the Australian GP last month
- His contract ends at the end of the season with Esteban Ocon eyeing his seat
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 Hamilton to winning F1’s biggest prize
‘If he creates a great atmosphere and is good support for Lewis for the Championship, that is also of high value and therefore there are many scenarios for him to merit and stay on with Mercedes.’
Bottas goes into the third race of the current season leading the driver standings after he backed up his win in Australia with a second-placed finish in Bahrain after Ferrari’s calamitous finish.
Last season left plenty of questions as to whether Bottas could handle the pressure at Mercedes having finished fifth overall in a car that led Hamilton to his fifth world title.
Highly-rated young driver Esteban Ocon is waiting in the wings should Mercedes look to change Bottas out but Hamilton appears to enjoy having Bottas on the team given how much of an ally he was to his title success last season.
Ferrari, despite failing to win either of the opening two races, look to have the fastest car on the grid and that is going to ensure a number of sleepless nights if it carries on for Mercedes bosses’, according to Rosberg.
The ex-Mercedes driver (left) is in Shanghai for Heineken’s collaboration between the UEFA Champions League trophy tour and Formula One’s 1000th race weekend with famous stars
‘Toto (Wolff) wants to win and so until they have the fastest car it is not going to be a comfortable situation,’ the German, speaking from Shanghai alongside footballers Xabi Alonso, Clarence Seedorf and Luis Figo as Heineken brought the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour and the 1000th F1 Grand Prix together, said.
‘He is an unbelievable fighter and he is going to do whatever it takes to stay on top and they are the favourites. They always make it happen even when they don’t have the fastest car.’
Max Verstappen, long considered a future world champion, is eager to push for the title himself in his Red Bull – Rosberg, however, feels the Dutchman has ‘no chance’ with his current car.
‘This year he doesn’t have a chance at the title,’ he said. ‘This year he can go for podiums and has a chance to win an occasional race but unfortunately their car is too far away at the moment.’
Rosberg was at the Heineken® F1 Shanghai Fan Festival, which runs from April 12 to 14, giving fans an adrenaline thrill beyond the race-track, with world-class entertainment, performances and activities in the heart of the city.
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