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.”