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Rosberg: Alonso would have created ‘fireworks’ with Hamilton at Mercedes

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Retired Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg says that Fernando Alonso was never an option to replace him at Mercedes, believing the Spaniard would have caused “fireworks” with teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg beat Hamilton to the F1 drivers’ championship in 2016 before sensationally announcing his immediate retirement from the sport.

The shock news offered a late twist to the driver market, with Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda claiming that half the grid had enquired about the seat.

McLaren driver Alonso was linked with the drive, but remained locked into the final year of his contract for 2017 and underlined his commitment to the British team. Rosberg was ultimately replaced by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Rosberg said that as a fan, he would have liked to see Alonso replace him, but stressed that it was never a realistic proposition.

Alonso and Hamilton spent one year together as teammates at McLaren in 2007, with a fierce rivalry developing that saw the pair fall out. Alonso left the team after just a single season.

“Now I’m a fan and on that side, it’s very easy to respond,” Rosberg said when asked who should have replaced him at Mercedes.

“Everyone says Alonso and I say it too, because there would have been fireworks with Hamilton, sparks flying.

“As a fan, it would be nice, but for the team part it was not possible, and they have found a great solution. Bottas is fast and has beaten [Felipe] Massa three times in a similar way as Alonso did, and can do very well.

“Of course Hamilton will be at a very, very high level and it will be difficult to beat him, but I have proved that it is possible.”

When asked if there had been any chance of Alonso making the move, Rosberg said: “No, nothing. I can’t imagine it, not for Mercedes, no.”

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.