Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton deliver opening salvoes ahead of title rematch

nico rosberg and lewis hamilton

“I am very much aware of what he is capable of and what he can do,” Lewis tells Sky Sports F1; “I have focussed on pushing myself even harder for the rematch with Lewis,” responds Nico.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have fired their opening verbal salvoes ahead of the new F1 season, with the German revealing he has worked harder than ever during the winter to prepare himself for “the rematch with Lewis”.

With Mercedes invariably faster and more reliable than their rivals through winter testing, Rosberg and Hamilton are set, once again, to go head-to-head in an exclusive fight for the world championship. And if their words are a reliable precursor to their deeds, it will be another no-holds-barred fight between the former friends turned title foes.

“I am going to be driving as hard as I can,” vowed Hamilton in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1. “Nico knows what I am capable and I am very much aware of what he is capable of and what he can do – and I’m conscious he will be trying to do everything under the sun to improve and beat me this year. And l know he knows l will be doing the same.”

Friends since boyhood, Hamilton and Rosberg’s relationship collapsed under the strain of their title battle last year, with the Englishman seemingly convinced that his team-mate deliberately played dirty in Monaco and Spa.

On the other side of the Silver Arrows’ garage, Rosberg’s determination to avenge last year’s defeat has been palpable throughout winter testing. Completing more laps than any other driver during the twelve days of pre-season action, Rosberg has also experimented with different seating positions and new breathing techniques in a bid to gain a critical edge over his Mercedes team-mate.

“I have focussed on pushing myself even harder for the rematch with Lewis. In the end, it comes down to who can put the best season together overall and I have to make sure it’s the other way around this time. Having said that, my team-mate is just one of many strong competitors who I have to beat if I want to be World Champion, so I’m just focused on being the absolute best I can be,” said Rosberg.

“I now know the feeling of winning races and I intend to do a lot more of that – but I also know the feeling of not winning in the end and I don’t intend to repeat that experience. It’s a huge motivation for me and gives me even more determination for 2015.”

Although Hamilton held the edge on the slower but more durable medium tyres during testing, Rosberg topped the Barcelona timesheets after out-pacing his Mercedes team-mate on the soft compound. The German also completed around 200 more laps than Hamilton, with the world champion handicapped by a series of niggles during his sessions in the W06 and waylaid by a virus at the start of the first Barcelona meet.

“You can’t win them all, I’m very much aware of that.” Hamilton told Sky F1’s Martin Brundle. “But this year I am going to give it everything – and even more than last year.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton has also revealed that he is “in the final stages” of agreeing a contract extension with Mercedes after personally leading negotiations with the team’s hierarchy.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s not been the easiest. At the end of the day, what l do best is getting in the car and driving, and working with a large group of people. So to start talking business and numbers is definitely a very awkward experience – but hopefully one in which I’ve done myself proud.”


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