Rosberg: Bottas can annoy Mercedes F1 team-mate Hamilton a lot

Nico Rosberg believes Valtteri Bottas is better than he showed in Formula 1 last season and has backed him to be "annoying" Lewis Hamilton "quite a lot" in 2019

Rosberg: Bottas can annoy Mercedes F1 team-mate Hamilton a lot

Rosberg beat Hamilton to the 2016 world championship when they were team-mates at Mercedes and then announced his shock retirement at the end of the year.

Mercedes signed Bottas to replace him but a solid first season, in which he won three grands prix, was followed up by a winless 2018 campaign.

Sky F1 pundit Rosberg, speaking at a day of promotional filming for the channel, believes the start of the year will be crucial to Bottas.

"Valtteri is a lot better than he's been able to show recently," Rosberg told Sky Sports News.

"With a new season starting again he has a good chance of establishing himself in a much stronger position and even really [be] annoying Lewis quite a lot.

"I think that's possible. It always depends how the season starts.

"Last year he had a lot of bad luck as well. If the luck is on his side and he starts well, it could be a whole different situation."

Bottas did help Mercedes to a fifth straight constructors' championship, while Hamilton claimed 11 victories to wrap up his fifth drivers' title.

Rosberg said F1 does not need his former team to fall back, but for others to catch up.

"It's been an amazing run but it's not necessarily time for change, it's time for renewed battles up front, and then may the best team win," he said.

"Mercedes has been the best recently. We want it to go down to the wire, we want to see real action."

Button, Rosberg eye three-way fight for F1 2019

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel mounted a stronger title challenge against Mercedes last year but fell short thanks to errors from both parties.

Red Bull also became a regular victory threat at the end of the year and Rosberg said F1 would "love" to see Max Verstappen's team, which has switched to Honda engines for 2019, "up front and make it a three-way fight, at least".

"That would be so cool," he added. "I hope that can work out for this year.

"There's a real possibility because the regulations have changed so much in terms of the cars, and everybody had to start from scratch."

Rosberg will be joined at Sky this season by 2009 world champion Jenson Button, who will take on his first full-time pundit role.

Speaking at the same event as Rosberg, Button also backed the front-wing and aerodynamic changes for 2019 to close up the field.

"Lewis is coming off a fantastic few years but with the new regulation changes who knows what is going to happen in 2019," Button told Sky Sports News.

"There's so many changes and it's exactly what the sport needs.

"I think we might have three teams fighting at the front as well, hopefully we're going to see Red Bull-Honda up there.

"If we do, there'll be some fantastic fights I'm sure."

shares
comments
Has Red Bull fallen into McLaren's Honda trap?

Previous article

Has Red Bull fallen into McLaren's Honda trap?

Next article

Formula 1 to hold 2019 season launch ahead of Australian GP

Formula 1 to hold 2019 season launch ahead of Australian GP
Load comments
The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021