Nico Rosberg ‘neutral’ as former rival Lewis Hamilton bids for F1 record

Michelle Foster
Nico Rosberg attends a green event. Berlin June 2022.

2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg attends an environmental event.

Nico Rosberg says he has no feeling one way or another about his former boyhood friend turned rival Lewis Hamilton potentially fighting for a record-breaking eighth World title next season.

All he wants is a “great” fight that is won by a Mercedes driver.

Coming through the motorsport ranks as juniors, Rosberg and Hamilton were good friends in their youth but that imploded when they teamed up at Mercedes and fought for the Formula 1 World titles.

‘But then Lewis, I’m neutral there…’

Such was the rivalry that when Rosberg finally got the better of the Briton in the 2016 championship, he quit the sport days later as he cited the strain of the title fight.

Mercedes went on to win four more Drivers’ titles with Hamilton, bringing their run to seven on the trot before Max Verstappen ended their reign in 2021.

He has since brought his tally to three as he dominated the 2023 season with 19 wins in 22 Grands Prix.

With the tables turned Hamilton and Mercedes are now hoping to be the ones to overthrow Red Bull and their star driver.

Asked whether he’d be happy to see Hamilton win a record-breaking eighth title, Rosberg told the Daily Mail: “I would be happy if Mercedes won, because that’s kind of my racing family from the past.

“But then Lewis, I’m neutral there.

“I just would like a great fight for the championship, and may the best driver win. But I’m not biased in that sense, obviously.”

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Nico Rosberg backs Mercedes to get it right

The German, who raced for Mercedes for seven seasons and claimed 23 Grand Prix wins and 57 podiums, believes that after two difficult seasons with the all-new ground-effect aerodynamic cars, Mercedes are finally on the right track.

“We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from the Mercedes team,” he said. “They lack consistency.

“But look at Austin. They were challenging for the win there and actually had the fastest car over the weekend.

“So we’ve seen that they’re starting to understand the car, and they just have the problem that you still lack consistency. They still lack in straight-line performance, but they are starting to understand all that.

“I believe in Mercedes’ ability because I was there. I know how strong they are.

“It’s always still the same people. So certainly there is a chance that Hamilton could once again fight for the championship next year.”

Next season Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has promised an all-new car, saying: “We are changing the concept.

“We are completely moving away from how we laid out the chassis, the weight distribution, the airflow, I mean literally there is almost every component that has been changed because only by doing that do we have a chance.

“We could get it wrong also, so between not gaining what we expect to catching up, making a big step and competing at the front, everything is possible.”

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