Rosberg backs Bottas for 2019 title bid

Rosberg backs Bottas for 2019 title bid

Nico Rosberg thinks Valtteri Bottas can maintain a bid for the drivers’ world championship in 2019. Written off after his winless 2018 campaign, Bottas got his season off to the best possible start by beating his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix.

The win held similar hallmarks to Rosberg’s 2016 victory over a pole-sitting Hamilton in Melbourne, which preceded a title success later in the year for the German.

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“Bottas is in combat mode this year. You cannot underestimate the mental side in Formula 1. It’s what we saw last year with Sebastian [Vettel].”

Rosberg thinks a perfect example of how Bottas can beat Hamilton is the way the Finn managed to get to the first corner first in Melbourne, despite starting second.

Rosberg noted that, at the first race since Charlie Whiting’s death, his successor as race director Michael Masi started the race after a shorter than usual pause after the five lights came on.

“Statistically, that was certainly the fastest light turn-off time in years,” Rosberg explained. “I’m sure many were surprised, and that’s a weakness of Lewis.

“The problem for Valtteri is that Lewis is always so strong in qualifying, but the chance is there that we will see a real duel.

“I think if Valtteri can keep the positive mentality, he can become world champion, because then Lewis has his periods of weakness.”