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Nico Rosberg: "To finally get one back on Lewis Hamilton was awesome"

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Nico Rosberg: "To finally get one back on Lewis Hamilton was awesome"
Nov 30, 2016, 11:28 AM

Nico Rosberg has reflected on his title success now it has sunk in and said it was “awesome” to beat his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hami...

Nico Rosberg has reflected on his title success now it has sunk in and said it was “awesome” to beat his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton to the 2016 world championship after a losing out to his long-time rival in previous seasons.

The German driver clinched the 2016 world title with second place in last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton won the race despite backing his teammate into the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers for much of the event in the hope of forcing Rosberg out of the podium places – a result that would have give the Briton his fourth championship victory.

Speaking at a celebration event at the base of the Petronas oil company that sponsors the Mercedes team, Rosberg described his feelings at defeating his former karting teammate and adversary after losing out in their F1 title battles in 2014 and 2015.

Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton

He said: "I owe some words to Lewis, too. He's one of the best in the world, one of the best ever surely, so it's incredibly intense to race him. It feels like we've been doing it forever and he's always edged me out ever so slightly, so to finally get one back was awesome.

“I've got great respect for him because he does an incredible job, he's done so well over the years and he fought to the very last metre on Sunday. That made it extremely tough on Sunday but all the more beautiful afterwards."

The new world champion – the first first-time winner since Sebastian Vettel won the title for Red Bull in 2010 – described Sunday’s season finale as “touch-and-go” as he also paid tribute to the hard work of his family and the Mercedes team during his career.

Nico Rosberg

He said: "I have been working towards it since 25 years, my whole life, and it was extremely intense out there on Sunday, touch-and-go at times and it could have been really hairy to lose the championship.

“But afterwards, it was amazing to share it with everybody, especially with the team. Mercedes is my racing family in F1 and we have been in this together since day one in 2010, just like Petronas - and now we are the best in the world.

“My best friends came out to Abu Dhabi to surprise me and then, of course, my parents too. It's one of the most emotional parts of it to achieve what my Dad did 34 years ago. My parents had prepared a video of me during my very first couple of days in a go-kart which I had never seen before; when I saw it on Sunday night on social media, I cried my eyes out, thinking of the support from both my parents across all those years.”

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg revealed that he has spent the last few days celebrating in Abu Dhabi before he travelled to Kuala Lumpur for the event at Petronas’ Twin Towers.

He said: "The last 48 hours have been full of some unbelievable emotions and that was another real highlight for me - I wasn't expecting it at all and it just completely blew me away! Incredible and wonderful to see.

“It's been a pretty intense few days: I'm pretty tired after some hard partying in Abu Dhabi and I've got a few bruises, too, from how hard we celebrated with my friends - but it's just an amazing feeling to think I have achieved that childhood dream and I am world champion.”

There has been much discussion about the spirit of Hamilton’s tactics during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Mercedes repeatedly asked him to increase his pace to guarantee the race win with Vettel closing in on the lead during the final stages.

Toto Wolff

But Mercedes’ motorsport boss Toto Wolff, who was in attendance at the same event as Rosberg, explained his belief that the intense nature of his driver’s rivalry had been good for the Brackley-based team.

He said: "When we first brought Lewis and Nico together as our driver pairing back in 2013, we made it clear that there would be no number one status for either of them - and they didn't want that either.

“We knew we had two world-class talents on our hands and that giving them equal opportunity to fulfil their potential would bring the best out of them. At the same time, we knew that this approach would sometimes give us some tough moments to deal with. It's something we took into account and accepted as a challenge worth tackling.

“When you see the results we've had together, it's clear that this is the right approach. One of the keys to our success has been that they constantly push each other - and that in turn kept raising the bar even higher. They are both born fighters and the intense competition has been good for them, for the team and for the sport.”

Nico Rosberg Toto Wolff

Rosberg will visit Wiesbaden, Germany, the city where he was born, with the mayor, his mother Sina and her family today before continuing his celebrations at the Mercedes factory in Brackley tomorrow.

The new world champion will then be officially crowned at the FIA Prize giving Gala in Vienna on Friday.

What do you make of Rosberg’s comments? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now
Tags innovation