I can’t be easy winning a Formula 1 world championship…especially when your closest rival is your teammate and he’s driving the best he ever has. That’s the situation Nico Rosberg was in last weekend and yet he came out on top to take the title away from British 3-time champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Nico admitted that Lewis was driving as good as he has ever seen him drive—and they’ve been racing against each other since they were teenagers—in the last four races of the season. Perhaps ironically, it was the last four races of the 2015 season that turned things around for Rosberg who was shoved out wide in turn one at the USGP in Austin and lost the title to Lewis that same day. Nico said that day turned his entire mental approach around and it will remain to be seen if the last four races of 2016 will turn things around for Lewis in 2017.
The fact is, Lewis had his issues in 2016 and team boss Toto Wolff was quick to point toward the Malaysian Grand Prix engine failure as the reason he lost the title to Nico. That’s being very nice of him and true, engine failures are never helpful but it is more than just one race that contributed to Lewis’s shortcoming in 2016. It was a combination of mechanical issues, poor starts and Nico Rosberg’s performances gaining points and capitalizing on Lewis’s issues that won the day. It takes a season to determine a champion, not a race.
F1 driver and world champ, Jacques Villeneuve says that Lewis just woke up too late. He seemed to wake up mid-season and realized that Nico is quick. Regardless, I think Lewis knows Nico is quick, he knows he’s quicker and apart from some mechanical issues and a series of poor starts from him, he would be champion.
I believe we saw the best Lewis we’ve possibly seen in the final races of this season and in my opinion, I think Lewis likes the hunt more than the defense if I’m honest. I think it’s when he does his best…when he’s attacking. His strategy in Abu Dhabi was head’s up and on point, his driving sublime and managed. I suspect he’ll hit the ground running in 2017 with something to prove and we may be the benefactors of his frustration.
Lewis is a champ, there is no doubting that and one of the reasons we can tell he’s a champ is that Nico won the title and all everyone is talking about is Lewis’s feelings, comments, worthiness of the title this year etc. It’s all about Lewis and he likes it that way.
As we mentioned on our podcast review of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sky Sports F1 have officially posted the incident in Spain when Lewis threatened to quit driving for Mercedes. This week’s testing session saw Lewis walk away feeling “unwell” and rumors began swirling again. Lewis, likes the narrative to be about Lewis and when it isn’t, he makes it so. It’s who Lewis is and one of the things that turns certain fans off the boil for him.
As for me? I like hearing from other drivers on the grid. I hear a lot from Lewis via social media so to get an interview with Nico is a pleasant departure from the onslaught of #TeamLH outrage. Enjoy this Mercedes video, I did.