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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.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.