Nico Rosberg hits out at ‘not nice’ conflict dig amid Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari prediction

Thomas Maher
Nico Rosberg, Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, 2024.

Nico Rosberg wasn't impressed by an on-air dig at his expense while discussing Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton's upcoming partnership.

Nico Rosberg was none too impressed after a dig was thrown his way while he talked Charles Leclerc’s chances against Lewis Hamilton.

The 2016 F1 World Champion was discussing the potential dynamic between Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton when the duo line up together for Ferrari next season when a dig was made that didn’t appear to go down well.

Nico Rosberg: ‘Come on, that’s not nice’

Rosberg was teammates with Lewis Hamilton during the early years of Mercedes’ dominance, losing out to the British driver in 2014 and ’15.

But Rosberg dug deep to fight back in 2016, with their former friendship dissolving into acrimony as the pair had various on-track clashes and off-track disputes.

Rosberg proved he was willing to go to battle with his teammate in order to take a title, and this he finally managed in 2016 – before promptly retiring for good from F1 just a few days later.

Rosberg is thus well-positioned to share his thoughts on how teammates need to approach lining up alongside Hamilton, and the German former driver said Charles Leclerc – as a Ferrari darling – could make life very difficult for Hamilton.

“We’re all looking forward to that dynamic again,” he told Sky F1.

“Charles doesn’t seem like someone who goes into conflict too much with his teammates, that will make it easier.”

Former F1 racer turned broadcaster Karun Chandhok threw a joke at Rosberg at this point, interrupting him to quip “Like you?” at Rosberg, in reference to how he went to battle with Hamilton.

But a stone-faced Rosberg was visibly unimpressed by the joke, although tried to keep the mood light as he retorted: “No, come on, that’s not nice to say.”

Picking back up his train of thought, the 2016 F1 World Champion said Leclerc’s pace could be difficult for Hamilton to keep up.

“From that point of view, maybe it won’t be too extremely spicy,” he said.

“But, nevertheless, I mean, Charles is probably the second-best qualifier out there after Max Verstappen, one could possibly say at the moment.

“So, yeah, it’s gonna be a tough, tough battle for both really. And I think the level could be pretty similar, so it would be great to watch.” recommends

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Nico Rosberg: Maybe Lewis Hamilton will time his switch perfectly

Analysing Hamilton’s upcoming switch from Mercedes to Ferrari, the German driver said he saw no reasons to argue why not.

“No one expected it. I didn’t expect it either,” he said.

“But, if you look at the grand scheme of things then, I mean, why not?

“It’s towards the end of his career. There are two legendary teams, it’s Mercedes and Ferrari.

“I know Lewis has always been a big fan of Ferrari road cars also. So why not make that switch and have a different experience driving in red once, so that he can really tick off both boxes, he’s driven for the two most legendary teams.

“At the moment, it also seems in performance terms to be the right decision for him. Maybe he makes an amazing move like, at the time 10 to 15 years ago when he moved from McLaren to Mercedes – McLaren was winning races, Mercedes was nowhere.

“The moment he moved, McLaren went backward and Mercedes started winning races. Maybe he can get the same timing again.”

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