Formula 1

Nico Rosberg reveals the bizarre change that messed with Hamilton in 2016

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Lewis Hamilton delivered his fourth Formula One Drivers' Championship on Sunday with Sebastian Vettel's victory in Mexico not enough to keep his faint hopes alive.

Victory in 2017 will go down as one of Hamilton's biggest achievements in the sport having lingered an unenviable 22 points off the pace as recently as August. Nevertheless, five wins in six Grand Prix after the summer break did more than enough to turn the tide.

It sees Hamilton return to the top after a 2016 season that saw him miss out on three consecutive titles with Mercedes - losing out to his once understudy Nico Rosberg.

Flying out the blocks with four wins in a row, the German asserted a commanding championship lead over Hamilton from the very start before quelling a late surge from his teammate to secure the crown in Abu Dhabi.

It closed the curtains on a season that saw Hamilton and Rosberg come to blows on a regular basis with one of the frostiest teammate relationships since Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.

Interestingly, though, Rosberg took the shock decision to go out on a high - a decision that Hamilton has criticised this week.

He stated: "I want to go out at the top…I could do the easy thing, like obviously Nico did, which is just stop and retreat with these four titles. But I think there's more in me."

Nevertheless, Rosberg has served up a little reminder of who was in charge during the 2016 season as part of an in-depth interview with AutoSport.

The German offered a remarkably precise insight into the mind games he could play with Hamilton.

He explained: "Every single detail counts. Look, in the summer break last year I decided to stop cycling because the leg muscles are among the heaviest things on your body.

"I lost 1kg as a result that August. We came back, and three races later it was the Japanese Grand Prix. One kilo of body weight is 0.04 of a second per lap when the car is at the weight limit.

"I was on pole at Suzuka by 0.03 seconds.

"My smaller leg muscles got me on pole, and that messed with Lewis's head, so he messed up the start. I finished first, he finished third, and I had the points lead that I needed to be able to cruise home with second places."

Rosberg claimed victory at Suzuka that day and it proved the final push in the title race - killing off Hamilton's challenge.

It goes to show how even the smallest of details can prove crucial in Formula One.

Who do you think would have won in 2017 if Rosberg didn't retire? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
Nico Rosberg
Fernando Alonso
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
Formula 1
Mercedes

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