Rosberg: ‘Maybe’ I didn’t have Hamilton’s talent

Jamie Woodhouse

Toto Wolff doesn't think Nico Rosberg's 2016 success made Lewis Hamilton a better driver.

Nico Rosberg admits he “maybe” didn’t have the talent of former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who he thinks could win “nine” titles.

Rosberg and Hamilton were team-mates at Mercedes from 2013-16. Hamilton would win the title twice in that time (2014 and 2015), while Rosberg claimed his only World Championship in 2016 and retired from Formula 1 shortly after.

Rosberg remains the only driver to have beaten Hamilton to the title since the turbo-hybrid era began in 2014, and he feels his former team-mate could win as many as nine titles.

That being said, the German uses his own experiences as proof of why drivers should set targets of steady improvement, rather than a certain numbers of records.

He believes Hamilton was “maybe” more talented as a racer than himself, so setting a target to win x number of titles was wrong.

“No, no, that’s wrong,” Rosberg told Austrian newspaper Der Standard, when asked if people should set ambitious goals.

“You have to find a balance. One goal is that you optimise yourself and that you get the best out of your options.

“Some people race and maybe don’t have the talent of a Lewis Hamilton, where I might be able to count myself.

“That’s why it’s not realistic for me to be a world champion nine times, just as he might be able to do it. That is not my ambition. My ambition is to get the best out of myself and that’s what I’ve set myself.

“In addition, there is a concrete goal as a result. The problem with goals in a result form is that so much depends on yourself.

“If I then have this engine damage and have my own optimisation as a goal, I can still be ecstatic when I know that I have achieved everything so brilliantly on the day and all year round.

“This is extremely important – but it wasn’t a strength of mine either. I was also far too focused on the result. Of course, this happens because your whole environment is just talking about it all the time. Everything else doesn’t matter.

“As an athlete, you have to try to find the balance and keep focusing on optimising your own abilities. That’s what I learned over time. I have made progress, but it is so difficult to make big strides.

“I think the most successful athletes have that balance and not just the focus on results.”

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