The Hamilton Vs Rosberg saga never gets old. It won’t run out of steam either at least for a couple of years to come. And even after that, it’ll go down in history as one of the fiercest modern-day rivalry.
A comparison between the two will skew the result heavily in the favor of Hamilton. 2 titles against 1, 32 victories to 22, 55 podiums to 50. Hamilton was better of the two in the 4 years they were together.
But I’m not talking about the battle of stats. In a championship fight, two drivers fight a battle of their own. Away from the race track, this battle is fought in the head of each driver.
Hamilton vs Rosberg
The Psychological Battle:
Yes, you guessed it right. I’m talking about the psychological battle here. The duo had been battling it out right from the junior categories. And by and large, Hamilton had prevailed over Rosberg Jr.
The lack of intensity in the junior categories meant their friendship never suffered the plight of their battle. The trend continued even when they made it into Formula One. The tables turned when they found themselves in the same team and exploded when they engaged in Championship battle. Hamilton Vs Rosberg had began.
Hamilton was predicted to mop the floor with Rosberg. But to everyone’s surprise, Rosberg gave Hamilton a run for his money.
2015 was a straightforward affair. But by the end of it, the relationship between the two had run into the ground. The psychological battle was in full swing.
The crushing defeat of 2015 pushed Rosberg to new lows but there he found a strength that’ll propel him to new highs also. The new season began and Rosberg did his homework. In the words of Pirelli’s Mario Isola “Rosberg has done more practice starts than any other driver during the winter testing to prepare for the new start procedures.” And for 2016 race starts indeed became quintessential for the whole year. All throughout the year, he trumped Hamilton at light’s out. Coupled with Hamilton’s engine issues, the momentum was definitely with Rosberg.
Yet Rosberg continued to refuse to rule out the Force that was Hamilton, at least in public. The upswing in the German’s form and the reliability issues on his side of the garage threw Hamilton off his game. Even without realizing he was losing the psychological battle.
The hue and cry in Japan following the Snapchat furor and getting beaten to pole was the final nail in the coffin. Rosberg had messed up Hamilton’s head and while he went to win the race, Hamilton bottled it to finish P3.
The last 4 races and the championship win is an already known affair.
The Ultimate winner:
But winning the championship and retiring dealt the ultimate blow to Hamilton. He had robbed his friend turned foe the opportunity to beat him again.
Rosberg went home a champion and continues to spend his life with his wife and children. For him, the battle has ended.
Hamilton went on to score more poles and wins to his tally. He scored the 4th championship to add to his glory. But something tells us that for him the psychological battle with Rosberg never ended. His taking pot shots at Rosberg tells us that he hadn’t digested the fact that he was beaten by someone who was clearly rated as a No 2 driver.
Suggesting that Valtteri’s presence has improved the team environment (who is clearly down on Pace to him). Taking a snipe at Rosberg when asked about the latter’s retirement is another clue. A clue that Hamilton at least in his head is still battling Rosberg. The timing of his comments conveys the magnitude of the effect this battle had on him.
Despite all this Rosberg refuse to be sucked back into the verbal battle with his ex-teammate. And this is why in Hamilton Vs Rosberg, Rosberg emerged as the ultimate winner. Because in defeating Hamilton he tied himself to Hamilton in history books. He carved a big chunk of glory from Hamilton for himself. And I know Hamilton is wary of this hence the comments and hence the defeat in the psychological battle.