Lewis Hamilton is pleased that new Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Valtteri Bottas has proven many of his critics wrong since joining the team, believing the Finn to be a “credible competitor”.
Bottas was drafted in by Mercedes for the 2017 season following Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from F1 just five days after clinching his maiden world championship.
Bottas scored a podium finish on debut for the team and took his first pole in Bahrain, but shot to the top of the rostrum last time out in Russia to claim his maiden grand prix victory.
The result did much to dispel suggestions that Bottas would be playing second-fiddle to Hamilton at Mercedes through 2017, with the Briton happy to see his teammate prove his critics wrong.
“Of course he’s a credible competitor, he was when he joined,” Hamilton said.
“I think it was many of you and perhaps people who are fans, whatever, came with preconceived ideas of how he was going to perform.
“He’s proved everyone wrong so fair play to him and he’s going to remain a competitor through the rest of the year so the fight will go on.
“We’ve stated our relationship with a really great foundation I think, a respectful foundation and I think that will continue.”
ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).
“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.
“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”
For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.
“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.
“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”
Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.
“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.