NICO ROSBERG beat Lewis Hamilton to the F1 title in 2016 after a highly tense battle.
Nico Rosberg tells of his willingness to befriend Lewis Hamilton
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Nico Rosberg has admitted he doesn’t regret anything about his title battle with Lewis Hamilton over half a decade on from the “mega fight”. Rosberg triumphed in a controversial 2016 title battle where tensions between the pair spilt over.
The pair took each other out at the Spanish Grand Prix while Hamilton even attempted to block other cars to stop Rosberg from winning the championship in Abu Dhabi. The German has previously admitted Mercedes had to outline rules for the two drivers on wheel-to-wheel racing and even threatened punishments for any breaches.
The battle was enough for Rosberg to call it a day after winning his first title as he retired weeks later. However, he now admits he was “proud” of his fight and has revealed the former team-mates now enjoy a better relationship.
He told Eurosport: “I don’t regret anything. It was a sensational time and a mega fight. I’m very proud of that. We’re now neutral again, that’s okay.” Rosberg and Hamilton were childhood friends in karting before they became F1 team-mates in 2013.
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Nico Rosberg doesn’t regret his fight with Lewis Hamilton (Image: Getty)
The pair enjoyed some fierce battles over their first season together but tensions never got out of control until they were battling for the crown. When asked when their relationship finally broke down, Rosberg also admitted things only turned sour when their car was more competitive.
He said: “That happened immediately when we were fighting for the World [Championship]. Not previously. But that’s always the case: If you’re fighting for success in every race and for titles, that’s no longer possible.” The former Williams and Mercedes star was then asked if there was a certain trigger to the relationship breaking down.
However, Rosberg instead admitted it was more of a gradual process as the pair “pushed boundaries” to get on top.
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Tensions were high between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in 2016 (Image: Getty)
He explained: “No, it was a build-up from one race to the next. If you want to win the World [Championship], you can’t play Peace Joy Pancakes. You have to push boundaries and step into [grey] areas to win. Especially when two drivers are at such a high level. And then things often get tight.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has previously admitted the situation with Rosberg and Hamilton was not properly handled. Wolff added: “I have to put that on myself. But I was quite virginal in the role then. It’s different today.
“I didn’t know the past of the two drivers and maybe with the team then I didn’t react robustly enough to avoid these things.”