Mercedes’ James Vowles sees signs of a “true master” in Valentino Rossi

© Monster Energy

Mercedes’ Strategy Director James Vowles gives praise to Valentino Rossi for his performance during the ride swap with Lewis Hamilton.

The swap happened at a promotional event set up by Monster Energy in Valencia. Hamilton sampled one of Rossi’s 2019 Yamahas, while Rossi drove Hamilton’s 2017 W08 (F1’s testing rules prevented his from trying out newer machinery).

Mercedes’ strategy guru James Vowles was present at the event.

“Valentino’s approach was very meticulous,” said Vowles.

“He got the fundamentals right first in terms of getting the car to where he wanted it to be on track and controlling it, and then just intuitively braking later and carrying more speed into the corner, almost like I imagine he does with a MotoGP bike, and it’s very impressive to watch.

“It is really the sign of a true master that he’s not out of control and progressively finding performance.

“Throughout the day, he had areas of strengths. One of them was braking late and carrying speed into the corner, he’s really good at that.

“Give him another day or two in the car, and he will then be on top of the fundamentals plus the tuning of all of that. There is a lot of performance to come. In slow-speed corners, as in the exits onto the start-finish straight, there he was very good.

“Where he was a little bit behind Lewis – and it doesn’t surprise me too much – is high speed [corners].”

No official lap times were released for the event.


You can read more comments from Rossi, Hamilton and Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis here.

You can watch Monster Energy’s official video from the event here and the onboard footage here.

The longer, unedited footage and a Sky Sports report can be found here.

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