Nico Rosberg: ‘I Have Huge Respect For Lewis Hamilton But We Are Not Best Friends’


Nico Rosberg has opened up on how much he respects Lewis Hamilton and the "greatest satisfaction" he gets from beating his Mercedes team-mate - but admits it's too much for the pair to be friends.

The Mercedes drivers, currently locked in a fierce title battle with Rosberg just one point ahead of Hamilton, have battled throughout their racing careers - from karting to F1 - and are now on their "final warning" before team orders are imposed having crashed twice this season.


Rosberg, who claimed the first four races in 2016 but has won only once since, spoke to >The Guardian about the Brit after the disappointment of a demotion to third place and a Hamilton victory at the British GP.

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"Beating Lewis … he's one of the sweetest opponents." the German said. "He's one of those opponents where you get the greatest satisfaction from beating him because he's world champion.

"I have huge respect for him but, well, we're not best friends at the moment. That's the difficulty between us now. We're just both so competitive and that makes it difficult to be friends because the competition is so extreme.

"It was the same back then. How many pizzas could we eat? Who could run fastest from the lift to the hotel room? It would be competition all the way but there was not the surrounding influence with a team, the media and money. That makes it difficult now.

"I do recognise his achievements. He's done some great things and he's been beating me. I have to fight back and that's the awesome challenge."

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Rosberg's streak, seven in total when counting his end-of-2015 run, now appears a distant memory with Hamilton stating he feels "fresh, powerful and confident" after securing back-to-back wins.

But the former Williams driver believes his team-mate's "wave" is coming to an end and is doing his all to stay positive amid a barren spell.

Marc Priestly thinks Lewis Hamilton's comments in the media may be affecting Nico Rosberg's performance on the track
Marc Priestly thinks Lewis Hamilton's comments in the media may be affecting Nico Rosberg's performance on the track

"If I focused on points and championships I'd be massively disappointed because I was 40-whatever points ahead and now it's one, but I'm not focusing on it," Rosberg explained.

"Momentum does play a role. We've seen it with Lewis and I from 2014. We've always gone in waves. It's strange but it must be time for his wave to be ending now. But, yeah, it's difficult to have a race like Silverstone. Second place - I could have lived with that but to lose points and finish third? That's tough."

While Hamilton is aiming to join the pantheon of four-time world champions, Rosberg is still looking for his first. But when asked if this was his best chance, he added: "I don't think of it that way. It's just a great opportunity. Of course it helps for motivation when you're fighting for wins. If we were 12th and 13th it's not the same.

"Fighting for the title is incredibly intensive. The actual driving doesn't change much but it's such a difficult situation because you're racing together and, at the same time, against each other. That's a unique challenge.

"It's very difficult to find the right line. I have a duty for the team and for them it's so important to win the constructors' title but where is the line to my ego and what I want? It's always difficult.

"My dream is to win the world championship and I'm fighting for that. I'm giving it everything."

Watch the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports F1. The race starts at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up underway at 11:30am. Or watch the race without a contract for £6.99 on NOW TV. 

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Source : http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/24207/10505325/nico-rosberg-talks-lewis-hamilton-rivalry-barren-run-f1-title-dream

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