‘Easier for Verstappen’: Nico Rosberg makes Lewis Hamilton comparison

Nico Rosberg did not attempt to retain his 2016 title, as he retired from Formula 1 after his maiden championship success.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton saw their childhood friendship ruined over the course of their time together with Mercedes, as the pair battled away for numerous championships.

With Ferrari and Red Bull both experiencing a period in the shadows while Mercedes dominated, Rosberg and Hamilton were forced to battle each other for championship glory, leading to a tense atmosphere within the Silver Arrow’s camp.

The pair famously collided in Barcelona as Hamilton attempted a move that was never on, then the Brit backed his teammate up into the pack in Abu Dhabi as Rosberg was on the verge of championship glory.

Speaking about Max Verstappen’s dominance in 2022, Rosberg has claimed that the Dutchman is in a better position to challenge for championships, due to Red Bull’s clear first and second driver stance.

READ: Max Verstappen drops major F1 retirement hint

“The whole team had to maintain a neutral attitude between Lewis and I,” explained the German.

“There was a strange atmosphere within the team because it was clear that there was rivalry within our own garage.

“As a result, there was a spirit within the team without balance – and that made it difficult to get closer together. I was in isolation at the most important point of my career.

“It should be easier for Verstappen – because he is seen as the number one driver by everyone. There is a calmer atmosphere at Red Bull.”

Article continues below

Rosberg’s interpretation of the situation at Red Bull could be set to change in 2023, as Sergio Perez has claimed that after two years with the team he now feels as if he is able to truly challenge his teammate for the title.

READ: Lewis Hamilton thanks Ferrari-bound engineer in a special way

Perez has been happy to play the wingman role in previous seasons, often sacrificing his own races to hold up the likes of Lewis Hamilton, however it seems unlikely that the Mexican will continue to help Verstappen in 2023 if he believes he can match him.

The pair experienced an explosive fallout in Brazil earlier this year, meaning that a Hamilton-Rosberg style breakdown in relationship could be on the cards at Red Bull.

With Daniel Ricciardo waiting in the wings as the team’s third driver, Perez will have to manage his relationship with Verstappen in 2023, as he knows a fallout could easily see him replaced by the Australian midway through the season.