With Mercedes once again having the dominant car, the 2016 Championship quickly became a two-horse race between Rosberg and Hamilton, with the battle ultimately going right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.
In an interview with The Times, Rosberg has revealed that losing to Hamilton three years in a row, from 2013 to 2015, was “painful” and even prompted him to lock himself in his hotel room.
“At the time it was like, ‘he’s probably too nice to be World Champion against the ruthless Lewis’,” the German said.
“I lost to Lewis three years in a row. And it was so painful, the last time. I locked myself in a hotel room, and I reminded myself to push, push, push like hell. It just enhanced my motivation, my focus.”
His newly found motivation raised his game and allowed him to clinch the following year’s Championship after a season-long battle with Hamilton.
“ went to the wire, to the last corner. It couldn’t have been more intense, and winning against Lewis, in the same car, after having struggled against him for decades? It was just so perfect,” Rosberg said.
In the same interview, Rosberg also revealed that he walked away from a $100 million contract extension with Mercedes at the end of 2016.
Since retiring from Formula 1 to spend more time with his family, Rosberg has become a sustainability entrepreneur and occasional pundit and co-commentator for Sky Sports F1.