Former F1 Champion Reflects on What Held Him Back From Making a Comeback With Mercedes in 2020

Published 01/11/2022, 7:45 AM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 24: World Drivers Championship contender Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP during a press conference with Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 24, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)


Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who sensationally called it quits after winning his first, well-earned world championship in Formula 1 in 2016, recently spoke about an opportunity that he had of making a comeback to the sport.

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That opportunity came in 2020, right before the Sakhir Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID. This meant Mercedes needed an emergency replacement, so they turned their head towards their former champion, Nico Rosberg.

In a recent interview, the German said he “thought about” the prospect but ultimately decided against it. And the reason for this decision was quite a realistic one.

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“I certainly don’t have a chance to race more than three laps. My arms would stop working and my neck would fall between my legs. I don’t have those muscles anymore,” Rosberg said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 20: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates in Parc Ferme after winning the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Ultimately, Mercedes went with former Williams driver George Russell, who put in a magnificent audition for the Silver Arrows. And that performance by Russell, despite coming agonizingly close to a win, sealed his fate as a Mercedes driver.

“..it could become really intense in the team” – Nico Rosberg about Mercedes in 2022

Nico Rosberg, who spent a lot of time with both Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff, described why signing Russell was a “difficult decision” because the risk involved is “quite high.”

The German referenced the Sakhir Grand Prix as he said, “I think that Bahrain race is what helps George most, because Valtteri is a reference, he knows how Valtteri goes in qualifying with Lewis.”

“And George was right there with Valtteri straight away,” he added. Rosberg continued, “If George is really on exactly the same pace as Lewis, it could become really intense in the team.”

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“There are a lot of unknowns there, is George always going to back out, or is he going to get his elbows out? That’s just going to be so great to watch,” he added.

Mercedes, who haven’t quite replaced Nico Rosberg ever since his retirement, will have high expectations from George Russell.

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This is all the more interesting when one considers how Russell has ‘replaced’ Rosberg on one occasion already. And we all know how he performed then.

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Shaharyar

466 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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