Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of equalling Michael Schumacher in terms of World Championships. The Briton has been so dominant that defeating him in a similar car would seem like an accomplishment. To that end, Nico Rosberg has done a stellar job of keeping Hamilton on his toes and even won the 2016 world championship.
However, Hamilton’s ex-teammate, Heikki Kovalainen believes that Rosberg does not earn enough respect for challenging Lewis. The Finn also empathized with compatriot Valtteri Bottas for not picking up where Rosberg left off. For Kovalainen and Bottas, driving opposite the best driver of the current generation, in equal machinery is a pain.
In an interview with McLaren, Kovalainen was quite candid about his experience opposite Lewis Hamilton. That explains why he holds Nico Rosberg’s 2016 World Championship in high regard and applauded the German.
Admittedly, the F1 circus is mentally and physically grueling on its own. If you throw in a once-in-a-generation driver like Lewis Hamilton, the teammate’s job gets a whole lot harder, according to Kovalainen.
Lewis Hamilton: Why Nico Rosberg deserves respect
Nico Rosberg has stuck around the longest at Mercedes is the only driver to actually take the fight to Hamilton. According to the 38-year old, Rosberg is the only driver who exploited Hamilton’s weaknesses. This proved to be enough for Nico to attack and shuffle the pack just enough to make it to championship glory.
Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas is still looking to rise permanently and mount a serious challenge during the season. It is also worth noting that Rosberg’s feats are not limited to beating Hamilton. He showed that he is a quick and ruthless driver when he went up against Michael Schumacher from 2010 to 2012.
Kovalainen concluded, “Maybe I don’t think Nico’s performance is appreciated as much as it should be. It’s a tough performance to knock down Hamilton with a similar car. And in fact, Nico was already driving really hard back then against Schumacher earlier in Mercedes.”