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.”
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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