Nico Rosberg has admitted that his former Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton “walked all over him” before he upped his own game and won the world championship in 2016.
The intra-team rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton has been the talk of the town for the last few years, as the two drivers went head-to-head for the biggest prize in F1.
Hamilton generally had an upper hand in the battle, winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and ‘15. His second world championship with Mercedes was particularly an easy affair, as he wrapped up the title with three races remaining.
Rosberg has now admitted that Hamilton was simply too fast during his first three years at Mercedes, before he himself moved up one gear and ended the Englishman’s winning streak.
“The anger is bigger if that person you know so well does something that crosses the line,” Rosberg told the Daily Mail.
“Lewis is very good at going to the edge without going outside the grey area, thanks to his skills in the car. He is smart, very, very smart.
“I found it harder to go wheel-to-wheel. For him, it comes naturally. Lewis is very good at going to the edge without going outside the grey area, thanks to his skills in the car.
“I got more aggressive because too often in the past he had walked all over me. I had to watch the videos and make improvements.”
One of the key to Rosberg’s turnaround in 2016 was his mental strength, allowing him to stay focussed in the title battle that took so much out of him.
“There was a good mind man up the road and I spoke to him,” Rosberg said.
“I read books on philosophy. You know if you woke this morning and felt bad, some genius, maybe 2,000 years ago, had experienced the same and wrote about it.
“You can learn from this why you are feeling jealous or angry or stressed. And if you understand it, you can address it and deal with it.
“I would spend 20 minutes each morning and evening meditating. I don’t like that word, actually, it’s about concentration and awareness practice. I would sit down and just think of my thoughts, learning to relax my mind.
“After 20 times, your mind calms. When the fear crept in that I would lose the championship, you connect with the thought and have a discussion with it. Then the negative thought loses its strength.”
by Rachit Thukral