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Valtteri Bottas feeling no extra pressure racing for Mercedes F1

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Valtteri Bottas says he feels no extra pressure racing for defending Formula 1 champion team Mercedes ahead of his debut for the Silver Arrows in Australia next weekend.

Bottas raced for Williams between 2013 and 2016, claiming nine podium finishes before being approached by Mercedes following world champion Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from racing last December.

Bottas made his first public appearance with Mercedes over two weeks of pre-season testing in Barcelona, finishing as the third-fastest driver behind Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

Despite now racing for a team expected to win world titles and battle for every race win, Bottas says he feels no extra pressure compared to when he was with Williams.

“I know I was lucky with Nico retiring. It was always my goal to be sitting in a world class car some day,” Bottas told Sport Bild.

“Thanks to him this has now become possible. I can deliver.

“To be honest, I feel no more pressure than before. I simply feel that I have been given a special opportunity.

“I am allowed to drive the best F1 car ever. I have much more to win than to lose.”

Bottas managed to out-pace triple-champion teammate Lewis Hamilton through pre-season, but is still looking to learn from the Briton as he settles in at Mercedes.

“It will be interesting to see how he tunes the car, how his driving style works,” Bottas said.

“I’m watching a triple world champion at work. Not to use that opportunity would be stupid.

“I will not give in and I will not panic if Lewis is quicker. From the first race I have to be fully on it.

“I know that my learning curve is steep.”

Bottas will make his race debut for Mercedes on March 26 in the Australian Grand Prix.

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.