Nico Rosberg: Lewis Hamilton ‘walked all over me’ before F1 title year

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Nico Rosberg says that he had to become more aggressive on-track to deal with Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton after being “walked all over” by the Briton prior to his championship win in 2016.

Hamilton and Rosberg spent four seasons together as teammates at Mercedes, with the duo battling for the F1 drivers’ championship in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Hamilton defeated Rosberg in both 2014 and 2015, but Rosberg managed to fight back and claim his first F1 title last year before sensationally walking away from the sport.

Much of Rosberg’s success in 2016 was put down to a more blinkered and focused approach that ensured the German was not affected by the mind games that Hamilton may have played.

Rosberg also looked more authoritative on-track through his championship year, pulling off overtakes that the 2014 or 2015 version of himself may have shied away from.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Rosberg said that he had to become more aggressive to stop Hamilton walking all over him, as he had done through 2014 and 2015.

“The anger is bigger if that person you know so well does something that crosses the line,” Rosberg said.

“Lewis is very good at going to the edge without going outside the grey area, thanks to his skills in the car. He is smart, very, very smart.

“I found it harder to go wheel-to-wheel. For him, it comes naturally. Lewis is very good at going to the edge without going outside the grey area, thanks to his skills in the car.

“I got more aggressive because too often in the past he had walked all over me. I had to watch the videos and make improvements.”

Rosberg also revealed that he placed a great focus on mind-management through 2016 and trained himself to deal with the stresses of a championship battle better.

“There was a good mind man up the road and I spoke to him,” Rosberg said.

“I read books on philosophy. You know if you woke this morning and felt bad, some genius, maybe 2,000 years ago, had experienced the same and wrote about it.

“You can learn from this why you are feeling jealous or angry or stressed. And if you understand it, you can address it and deal with it.

“I would spend 20 minutes each morning and evening meditating. I don’t like that word, actually, it’s about concentration and awareness practice. I would sit down and just think of my thoughts, learning to relax my mind.

“After 20 times, your mind calms. When the fear crept in that I would lose the championship, you connect with the thought and have a discussion with it. Then the negative thought loses its strength.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”