Nico won but everyone’s talking Lewis

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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.

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jakobusvdlAndreasMax JohnsonZachary NoepeRoger Flerity Recent comment authors

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Roger Flerity
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Roger Flerity

C’mon, enough of the Lewis love fest already. The last four races were gifts to Lewis. Rossberg has so little trust in Lewis, he just let Lewis go to avoid any contact related issues that would have destroyed his lead in the points. Nico did not need the wins, so he did not go after them. The effort to de-legitimize him and his championship by Lewis lovers is getting stale already.

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

Completely agree. Without getting into larger issues about their comparative speed or abilities, I have no doubt staying away from Lewis, who IS both ruthless and skilled enough in hand to hand combat to bash Nico out of a race or two, dictated the finishing order of the last four races. Watching Nico’s courage during qualifying and racing to get and stay in second showed he could do whatever he needed to do. What he needed to do was stay the hell away from Lewis.

Andreas
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Andreas

Which “love fest” do you mean? In the media in general, or specifically in this op-ed? I agree with Todd that there’s been way too much focus on Lewis – even after Nico won the championship, somehow Lewis was still the story. And the few times the media focus did shift to Nico has definitely felt like a breath of fresh air. Even now, with NIco’s surprise retirement (who saw that one coming?), some still make Lewis the story (“who should be his team mate next year?”). I guess it is inevitable, but still… the guy won the WDC, so… Read more »

Max Johnson
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Max Johnson

Nope, everyone is talking about who’s getting the 2nd Mercedes seat. Paging Alonso now.

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

Neat interview, thanks for posting that NC. Makes even more intriguing watching after Rosberg has announced his retirement from F1.
In my view the guy has class, massive talent and an amazing determination. There is a gnats breadth between him and Hamilton in terms of pace, but the gap is in Hamiltons favour. So to hear a little about what he’s put in to compete, and beat Hamilton to the WDC is fascinating.
Well done Nico, a great F1 career, and checking out on top is a classy move. This won’t be the last thing he succeeds in.