It’s just when you think Nico Rosberg is cowed and beaten that he’s at his most dangerous.
What a thing it is to be beaten on your own home track by your rival. Can things get any worse for Rosberg, who slipped so far behind Hamilton in Hockenheim that he was barely a mote in the Briton’s rearview mirror? This is only the latest in a series of unfortunate events that turned the German’s 43-point advantage over Hamilton into a 19-point deficit.
But one thing that we’ve noticed is that Rosberg is never quite as bothered about his own lack of success as we are. When we were crying doom after his lamentable luck during the latter half of this season, he reported being unfazed by his sudden point deficit, totally aware that staying 43 points ahead was not going to last forever. He admitted to being “surprised” when he was hit with a penalty for overtaking Verstappen at Hockenheim. And now, in the wake of his most recent disappointment, he’s keeping cool and confident that this is only a sign that things will get a lot harder for Lewis Hamilton.
“[However] I have enough evidence from myself to show that I am always strongest after difficult moments, time and time again. So no issue there.”
It’s a rare man who can emerge from the wreckage with such serene faith in his own ability. It’s almost a power unto itself, that mental consistency that keeps him weathering the worst the track can throw at him. It’s ultimately what’s going to keep him from buckling under pressure from Hamilton, who is perhaps the more talented but also the more mercurial. Hamilton experiences incredible highs when he’s at the top of his game, but he also takes the setbacks hard, admitting to a tendency to dragging himself over the coals when things don’t go his way.
Rosberg’s mental strength and determination to rise above his circumstances make him a formidable opponent on his own terms. Now that he’s claimed he only gets stronger the harder life goes at him, Hamilton might have a tougher time cinching those victories than he’s had before.