Nico Rosberg engaged in a tense and thrilling rivalry with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton from 2014-’16, and the former world champion says that comments Hamilton made about their rivalry throughout those years are a compliment to himself.
The sparring between the two of them is well-documented and something that we all relished before it came to an end last year, but Hamilton had recently suggested that Rosberg’s exit of the team allowed him to flourish and improve the atmosphere within Mercedes as there was no longer a fierce competition to muck up the atmosphere.
Rosberg though, enjoying a productive and happy retirement, laughs at the comments and takes what his former teammate said as nothing more than a compliment:
“I’ll read you a quote. This quote is from Lewis Hamilton:
‘When you have two strong drivers in the team as we had, well, when the battle is within the team, it’s like a hurricane with strong energy and it is just stuck in the room.
That’s a quote from Lewis and I’ll take that as a compliment!” – Nico Rosberg
Hamilton lost out on the 2016 title by five points, and we all remember that tense and thrilling finale in Abu Dhabi with Rosberg soaking up the pressure to win the championship.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 27, 2017
The German believes that the comments from Hamilton stem from him losing that years championship, as he states that he himself would probably have said similar things had he ended the season runner up after doing so in both 2014 and 2015, the defeat at Austin in the latter season being crucial towards his championship charge in 2016.
“I won, so I can imagine maybe that wasn’t so positive [for him] – I would be saying the same if I lost last year, that it wasn’t too positive for me.
I found it very positive. We were pushing each other to the ultimate high level.
Of course, it’s not easy, but that’s what in my eyes keeps the drive going and the motivation high.
For me, that was largely positive. Clearly it was an extremely intense and challenging situation, but all the more rewarding then to come out on top, and against Lewis, who was rewriting the record books himself.” – Nico Rosberg
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) November 4, 2017
Valtteri Bottas became a worthy successor to the German with two wins and two pole positions so far this season. Despite his struggles lately he has pushed Hamilton hard – but we admit that we would have loved to see how Rosberg would have fared this season.
It would have given us an even better spectacle in the title fight this season, with the two Mercedes going up against Vettel and Ferrari together and perhaps leading to a least a two way shootout come Abu Dhabi.
But one can hardly blame Rosberg for retiring when he did. And judging by his social media page and beaming smile, he is certainly making the most out of his post – F1 life.