Valtteri Bottas Opens Up On Replacing Rosberg As Hamilton’s Team-Mate

Valtteri Bottas has opened up on what it was like joining Mercedes as Nico Rosberg’s replacement, just after the German won the 2016 World Championship.

Rosberg’s decision to quit motorsport after triumphing over Sir Lewis Hamilton in that season’s title fight shocked the world of Formula 1 and handed Bottas a golden opportunity.

READ: 2021 Japanese GP Cancelled Over COVID-19 Concerns

The Finn has been outperformed by Hamilton in every season at Mercedes, and he has said he had “big shoes to fill” when he replaced Rosberg.

“I definitely had big shoes to fill. You’re replacing a guy who had just won the World Championship and then he decided to stop,” Bottas said in an interview with Hypebeast.

“I was the next one in line and the team chose me so for sure, in this sport there’s always some form of pressure.

“But it was a big jump in my career and I had to make sure that I could make the most out of the opportunity, to perform and get a new contract for the following year.

“I’ve had to do that pretty much every year, because in this sport you always have to prove yourself. I think as the years go by, you start to learn how to deal with it and luckily for me, it only took a few races into the season to get my first win, which earned the trust of the team.”

READ: IndyCar Boss Suggests Red Bull Forced Albon To Be Verstappen’s ‘Bridesmaid’

Article continues below

Continuing, Bottas admitted that being Hamilton’s team-mate is challenging, as it is difficult to match his qualifying and race pace.

“Being Lewis’ team-mate is not easy because he’s pretty fast, both in qualifying and especially in the races,” Bottas added.

“It makes me push myself more and always try to dig deeper or try new things because I know I need to give absolutely everything I can if I want to beat him. So in that sense, it’s not easy but it’s also really motivating.

“It’s also been really enjoyable to be honest. We’ve been able to work really well as a team and if you look back at the last four years, we’ve managed to achieve great things as a team, so it keeps me working hard.”