MARCH 27, 2017
Bottas the right driver for Mercedes says Lauda
Niki Lauda says Melbourne proved that Mercedes chose "the right driver" to replace reigning world champion Nico Rosberg for 2017.
During the season opening Australian grand prix, now retired Rosberg 'tweeted' a photo showing him watching the race on TV with his wife and daughter.
Many people wanted Mercedes to hire a more exciting replacement like Fernando Alonso to replace him, but after switching from Williams, Valtteri Bottas qualified and finished third in Australia.
"He did a faultless race under great pressure," F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Lauda declared. "And his speed was not far from Lewis (Hamilton)'s. It was Rosberg-like.
"We selected exactly the right driver," he added.
Indeed, while the Finnish driver admitted he was "angry" after qualifying, he was happier following the race, having even got within overtaking distance of Hamilton.
As for attacking the Briton, Bottas said: "It would not have made any sense. To attack Lewis, I would have had to be at least two seconds faster than him, and I wasn't."
But another theory as to why Bottas didn't attack is a rumour the new Mercedes is particularly bad at following in another car's aerodynamic wake.
"This is a questionable theory," Lauda insisted. "After one race I wouldn't make too many conclusions."