Nico Rosberg believes that it would be wrong for Valtteri Bottas to be ruled out of the equation for this year's championship fight. Bottas was appointed as Rosberg's successor at Mercedes in 2017 after the German driver won last season's world championship.
Bottas has impressed so far this year, scoring two wins and six further podiums. This has put him into third place in the Drivers' Championship, 41 points adrift from Sebastian Vettel who currently leads for Ferrari and 34 behind Lewis Hamilton.
Despite the gap between Bottas and the championship lead extending at the Belgian Grand Prix, Rosberg said that it is important that no one rules out the Finn yet: “Please do not forget about Valtteri Bottas. He really has a chance as he is fast and perhaps a bit more consistent than Lewis,” he told Austria's Kronen Zeitung newspaper. “Lewis is unbeatable on good days, but he also has a few more difficult weekends for various reasons.”
Although impressed by the resurgence of Ferrari in 2017, Rosberg has firmly backed his former team, saying that they will end up as the champions once again this year: “I have giant respect for Ferrari, who were in no man’s land last year,” he said. "The fact that they now lead is very, very impressive. But I still believe that, although it is still exciting, Mercedes will win in the end because they have the best car.”
Rosberg also praised the mental strength of Sebastian Vettel, and said that his German compatriot has an advantage over Hamilton: “We sometimes see this strength in Vettel go into unfavourable situations like Baku, simply because his self-conviction is so great,” he said. “Lewis is a bit more inconsistent in the head, as it’s important how he arrives at the race track — is he at 100 per cent or only 95? So maybe this is a slight advantage for Sebastian.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing