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Rosberg’s advice to Bottas: ‘Don’t expect an easy ride’

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Coming on the heels of his interview over the weekend where Nico Rosberg said Lewis Hamilton “walked all over him” prior to winning the World Championship, then dropping the mic and retiring after the 2016 Formula 1 season, Rosberg has advised his replacement at Mercedes AMG Petronas Valtteri Bottas to avoid enduring the same potential pitfall.

Speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco, Rosberg made a number of comments about Mercedes’ driver lineup in the future – he also expects Mercedes to target both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for 2018 – but that targeting would only occur if Bottas struggles in his first year with the team.

Although Rosberg and Bottas haven’t directly talked about a game plan or strategy for Bottas’ integration within the team, Rosberg did advise Bottas to rise to the challenges he’ll face this year.

“Well I would tell him don’t expect an easy ride! It’ll be challenging,” Rosberg said.

“Coming into a new team with Lewis having been there so many years, new regulations and everything else will be a challenge. And Lewis one of the best out there; his talent is extremely high.

“But at the same time, Valtteri is very talented. He can achieve great things as well, as long as the team gives him a good car.”

Rosberg said Bottas has asked for a formal discussion and game plan for how to approach to the 2017 season, and they could have it soon.

“He’s asked if we can have a chat soon. I’m happy to do that,” Rosberg said.

“But I’ll stay very neutral. I won’t give away any of Lewis’ secrets … so he can integrate better into the team.”

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has already hailed Bottas’ integration to the team thus far, saying in an interview last week that Bottas has done a good job already of “filling Nico’s shoes.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.