Nico Rosberg was worse than Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes and he only won the 2016 World Championship because Sir Lewis Hamilton suffered a number of unlucky DNFs, according to triple F1 Champion Nelson Piquet.
The Brazilian added that he believes Max Verstappen “would smash” Hamilton if they were both driving for Mercedes, though he noted that it is difficult to compare drivers across different teams.
“First of all, we have to consider that F1 is a category with different cars, so it’s very difficult to make a direct comparison between two drivers if they are not on the same team,” Piquet told Motorsport.com on Tuesday.
“But if Max were driving for Mercedes, I’m sure that he would smash Hamilton.
“Max is more aggressive. He may make mistakes more frequently due to this aggressiveness, but in my opinion he’s better than Hamilton.
“Things are too easy for Hamilton to win it all with Bottas by his side as a second driver.
“It’s a little bit like Mansell and myself in Williams, with the other drivers far behind. I won the 1987 championship, and I wasn’t driving like before, because I had the accident at the beginning of the year and had field depth problems.
“But I won that Championship, with a bit of luck. I should have won in 1986, but won in 1987.
“But it was so easy. The car was far better than the others. And Mercedes is far better than the others for the past years.
“It’s not that Hamilton isn’t good. But he has an inferior driver by his side and the previous one [Nico Rosberg] was even worse.
“He [Rosberg] won because it was a year where Hamilton had crashes and DNFs,” he claimed.
Critics of Hamilton have often claimed that his success in Formula One, which includes seven World Championships and a number of all-time records, was only achieved because he had the fastest car on the grid and an easy-to-beat team-mate.
Following his victory in the 2021 season-opener at Bahrain, the Brit fired back and said he believes his triumph over Verstappen despite Red Bull having the quicker car proves that his success isn’t just down to his superior Mercedes machinery.
“There are always opportunities to prove people wrong and today is definitely one of them,” he said.
“There have been many in the past and I hope there are many in the future to be able to show what I was able to do today.
“We don’t have the fastest car at the moment, that’s all good for me. I don’t mind having to pull out extra in order to make the difference.”