It has been over two years since former world champion Nico Rosberg parted companies with Formula One, but it seems like yesterday we were witness to some of the most scintillating action on the track between him and Lewis Hamilton.
An association with the Brit that dates back to their karting days during their teenage years – Rosberg and Hamilton had a bittersweet relationship, especially near the end of their championship fight in 2016 and his sudden retirement, days after winning the title.
The German ace has opened up about their frosty relationship at Mercedes, disclosing insights about his methods in order to secure the world title and has offered an olive branch in Hamilton’s direction, implying he wants friendship like the good old days.
In an exclusive interview to Sun Sport, Rosberg said: “I am not a competitor anymore, so for me, I am open to being neutral and having a laugh again, why not?
“I have a lot of respect for Lewis and what he has done. Of course, we had some crazy and intense moments and run ins, but that's unavoidable I guess if you are fighting for the world championship.
“We were so ultra-competitive. I kept on saying that I was taking it one race at a time, but that was my defence.”
He revealed that he needed a mental trainer during that period to remain focused amidst the intense rivalry with his teammate and his relationship with Mercedes as well.
“Of course I never admitted that at the time. I did not talk about it. I worked closely on it with a mental trainer. During that battle, the media had such power that maybe they did not even realise,” continued the 32-year-old.
“They influenced my engineering team because all they do is read about F1 and the headline 'Rosberg disses his team', or whatever even it was not 100 percent like that, if I am sitting next to them while they are reading it during a race weekend, it has influence, so the drivers have to take the media game importantly.
“The battle with Lewis was intense battle and at times it was over the edge, but you cannot expect anything else when it was just the two of us in the same team fighting for the world championship.”
Currently working as an investor in Formula E, and investing his time and energy in designing and engineering companies, helping to produce the electric vehicles of tomorrow, Rosberg admitted that he is happy with his role behind the scenes while a return to top-flight racing is impossible.
The German star concluded: “For me, F1 is a closed chapter and I can look back happy. It is so awesome.
“I put everything I had into winning the championship that year, but that is what you have to do to beat that other dude!”