Max Verstappen ‘traumatised’ Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg won the 2016 drivers’ championship and then decided to retire rather than defend his title.

The 2016 F1 season saw Nico Rosberg finally step out from the shadow of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and win the drivers’ championship.

The German shared a very tense relationship with Hamilton following a series of high-profile collisions and it all nearly boiled over at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg entered the final round of the season 12 points ahead of his teammate in the championship meaning that should Hamilton win the race, Rosberg needed to finish in at least third.

The Brit took pole and led the entirety of the race and despite his best efforts to ignore his team and back Rosberg up into the pack, the German held on for P2 and claimed his first championship.

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This situation may never have come about however if Rosberg had not been able to pass a young Max Verstappen earlier in the race, with the Dutchman proving to be an issue for Rosberg over the course of the season.

“It was really, really unbelievable and first of all with Max of all days, I thought today I’m not going to see him,” said Rosberg after the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where his championship hopes hinged on him overtaking Verstappen.

“There he was again. I’ve had him all over in the last couple of races so there he was again.

“And then the team says to me, ‘it’s critical now to pass,’ you know, critical for the championship”

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Rosberg managed to get the better of Verstappen this time and claim his only championship victory, but it had been the other way around for the majority of the season.

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Verstappen proved himself to be a master in the wet conditions that season, performing stunning overtakes on Rosberg at Silverstone and in Brazil, really hindering the German’s title hopes.

With Verstappen only being 18 years of age during this season, the evidence was already there to show how talented of a driver the Dutchman could become.

Fast-forward a few years and Verstappen is now targeting his third drivers’ championship, proving that his battles with Rosberg back in 2016 were a sign of things to come.