2016 World champion Nico Rosberg thinks that former teammate Lewis Hamilton has not stepped up his game from their title battle in 2016. He felt that Hamilton’s fourth World Championship was too easy. Last season, the duo locked horns in a fierce battle for the title. The German coming out on top, but he does not feel that has led to Hamilton becoming an improved driver for this season’s title hunt.
Rosberg said, “I know what level he was driving at last year and I’m probably the best judge of that. I would say no. I don’t think he could have improved. During the season he had his strong and weaker moments, and like I did last season, Sebastian [Vettel] tried to use those weaknesses. But the difference this year was that unlike in 2016, Lewis did practically all of Mercedes’ wins. Last year we drove at such a high level throughout the season that Valtteri Bottas had a very difficult job to try to continue in the same way.”
Rosberg is currently in Abu Dhabi working for German broadcaster RTL. He praised his old team for still maintaining their reputation of being the team to beat despite such a drastic change in regulations. He added: “To survive a rule change like that with such dominance is very, very rare in Formula 1. It was the next step to legendary status.”
Rosberg revealed his secret to beating Hamilton to the 2016 title. He explained how he shaved off crucial time to gain an advantage in the same car as his team-mate and rival. Rosberg thinks that if Hamilton’s rivals can lose a little bit of weight, then they can stand a chance of beating Lewis.
The German said “Our bodyweight was crucial last year because our car was overweight. So one kilo meant (you would go) .04 seconds (slower). Huge. So two kilos over and it’s almost a tenth of a second. I was a little bit over the weight as well so I thought ‘OK what am I going to do?’ And the solution was to stop cycling and therefore lose my leg muscles. And so in the summer I was one kilo lighter. Then we went to Japan and during qualifying Lewis was in front. I did my last possible lap and nailed it by three hundredths of a second. I got pole. Massive.”