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.”