Rosberg Shockingly Considered Replacing Ex-Mercedes F1 Rival Lewis Hamilton in 2020 at Sakhir

Published 11/04/2021, 4:49 AM EDT
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)


When Mercedes announced that Lewis Hamilton was down with COVID-19 and a seat was there for the taking at Sakhir last season, the driver’s pool was buzzing with optimism; Who wouldn’t want to drive for Mercedes, even if it is for one race?

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However, the fact that Mercedes were then struggling contractually with Hamilton meant that their options became too narrow. They needed a backup driver, hence, forced themselves into considering the Sakhir GP as an ultimate driver’s test for a full-time seat in 2021.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 05, 2021 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Yes, the golden opportunity did eventually fall in the hands of George Russell. But here’s something interesting! It wasn’t just Russell, Vandoorne, and Hulkenberg who were battling for the drive, but also the former Mercedes world champion, Nico Rosberg.

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Although he wasn’t necessarily yearning to drive again, he reckoned he would have rung up Mercedes had he been physically fit. “Physically I would not have been able,” he said, according to Formula Passion. (Translated via Google Translate)

I would certainly have considered [the idea] of taking the phone in that case. But, physically I would not have been able [to drive].”

Rosberg elaborates on the downside of racing again for Mercedes

The German would have jumped into an F1 cockpit for the first time in 5 years had Mercedes chosen him as their replacement driver. Hence, Rosberg would have had a hard time coping with the immense G-forces. He even reckoned that his neck would have popped out.

I would not be able to do more than two laps with that car,” he said.

I would no longer be able to hold the wheel after two laps, I’m sure. Not to mention the neck. It would fall between my legs when braking. Because I wouldn’t be able to keep my head up.

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Rosberg has often clarified that returning to racing is the last thing he needs. Hence, the entire world would have gone mad had they witnessed Mercedes revealing Rosberg as Hamilton’s replacement.

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)

Moreover, imagine Hamilton’s reaction to this scenario – letting his rival drive his car while he watches it helplessly from the hotel room. This definitely would have caused a load of uneasiness within the team. But, in the end, the Russell option didn’t turn out that bad after all.

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The Briton, as expected, will be driving for Mercedes from next season alongside his compatriot, Hamilton. So, can the duo ignite yet another feisty intra-rivalry?

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Rohit Kumar

1456 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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