MARCH 20, 2019
Bottas can be world champion in 2019 says Rosberg
Nico Rosberg thinks Valtteri Bottas can keep charging towards the world championship in 2019.
Written off after his bad 2018 campaign, Finn Bottas got his season off to the best possible start by beating his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Melbourne.
"I do think Bottas can be world champion," Rosberg is quoted by Auto Bild.
The German would know. In 2014 and 2015, he was beaten to the title by Hamilton, only to come out with a Bottas-like new attitude in 2016.
Rosberg said: "Bottas is in combat mode this year. You cannot underestimate the mental side in formula one. It's what we saw last year with Sebastian (Vettel)."
He thinks a perfect example of how Bottas can beat Hamilton is how 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," he said.
"I'm sure many were surprised, and that's a weakness of Lewis," Rosberg explained.
"Valtteri - as I always did - practiced all weekend with his clutch: once, twice, three times, hundreds of times. And Lewis, not once, or maybe five times maximum.
"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," Rosberg said.