Reflecting on past F1 glory eras and rivalries, former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan highlighted Nico Rosberg versus Lewis Hamilton, praising Rosberg for retiring after winning the 2016 title.
The intra-team battle between Hamilton and Rosberg at Mercedes characterised the early years of Formula 1’s V6 turbo-hybrid era.
Mercedes team-mates from 2014-16, the first two seasons went in Hamilton’s favour, but 2016 saw Rosberg come out on top to become World Champion for the first, and as it turned out, the only time.
Nico Rosberg ‘very smart’ to retire as champion
Just days after winning the 2016 title, Rosberg made the shock announcement that he was retiring from Formula 1 with immediate effect, Valtteri Bottas replacing him as Hamilton’s team-mate from 2017.
Understandably, that decision has been a polarising topic of debate ever since, though Jordan believes Rosberg was “very smart” to retire after he “put everything into beating” Hamilton.
Discussing standout F1 rivalries on the Formula For Success podcast, Jordan said: “What struck me was he wins the World Championship, and you really coin it and cash in on that World Championship the following year in terms of experience, and Nico walked away.
“And I think he’s very smart. He realised that he’d put everything into beating Lewis and he wasn’t going to do it again, or he didn’t want to have to bother to try to do it again.
“He set out what he wanted to do. Second, second, first. I mean, phenomenal. And he is a major, major part of Mercedes.
“I’d have to say that that particular era, the way he tackled, the skill and the might and we all know how great Lewis was at that particular era, for Nico to do that, I think was immense.
“And I think he must have had great willpower, great confidence, great belief in himself to actually get himself up to beat Lewis in that same team and the same car.”
Rosberg remains involved with the world of F1 as a pundit, while Hamilton has since gone on to add four further World titles to his CV, bringing his tally up to seven overall.
That puts him level with Michael Schumacher for most title successes in F1 history.
We’ve been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards! Your votes would be much appreciated and you can head here to cast. Thank you!