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Wolff: Bottas doing a good job ‘filling Nico’s shoes’

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Yes, there hasn’t been a single Grand Prix run yet in 2017 and yes, it’s only been a few weeks since Valtteri Bottas has been formally confirmed as Nico Rosberg’s replacement at Mercedes AMG Petronas.

That said, it’s important to make a good first impression and Bottas has done so within the confines of his new team, Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Toto Wolff said.

Bottas’ first few weeks with his new team will lay the groundwork for the start of his relationship with the team, which is just one year with options beyond 2017.

Wolff said in a video released by Mercedes on Tuesday that Bottas is doing just what’s being asked of him thus far.

“I think the balance between Valtteri and Lewis (Hamilton) works,” Wolff said.

“They’re two very different personalities. For us, it was important to fill Nico’s shoes. Nico had a certain role within the team and Valtteri pretty much fits into that.

“We believe that the interaction and dynamics will work well. They respect each other. So far from what I’ve seen, Valtteri has settled in well.”

Wolff attempted to reflect on the hectic offseason at Brackley and Brixworth, which has not only seen Rosberg ride off into the sunset, but also Paddy Lowe’s departure before his eventual arrival at Williams Martini Racing.

“There was not really time to relax and recharge the batteries!” Wolff admitted.

“The phone is one thing but there were many decisions that needed to be taken, and assessments to be made. Paddy going was another one.

“To make the team stronger, you need to be careful evaluating which steps we take. This is why every day is important.”

Wolff also touched on the new car progress, his thoughts on F1’s new owners Liberty Media Corporation, and other Mercedes-related motorsport topics. You can see the full video linked here.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.