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Featured Nico Rosberg: F1's Nearly Man?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Yes

    256 vote(s)
  2. No

    151 vote(s)
  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Member Premium Member

    On Sunday 26th October 2015 Lewis Hamilton claimed his third Formula One World Championship in front of a packed Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas, USA.

    Amidst the scenes of jubilant celebration between the 30 year old Briton and his team following victory in the Grand Prix, teammate Nico Rosberg cut a somewhat dejected figure in the race paddock with the look of a man that knows he’s lost another opportunity to emulate his illustrious father Keke and take a World Championship for himself.

    The race in Austin on Sunday actually provided a very good commentary on how the Germans season has developed since the cars first rolled out onto the Albert Park tarmac back in March. From being out muscled into the first corner by an exceptionally aggressive Hamilton move to showing gritty determination bringing himself back into contention until a mistake opened the door for his Mercedes teammate to romp home for the victory and with it the World title.

    Rosberg has every reason to feel dejected after a season that promised so much but has delivered surprisingly little from his side of the team’s garage. Losing certain victory in Sundays race will only further compound that disappointment and lead to some very tough questions the young German needs to ask himself if he is to finish on a high this season, or indeed if he can re gather some momentum in order to provide a tougher challenge to his Mercedes teammate next year.


    So where has it all gone wrong for the driver who is fast becoming the bridesmaid in this new era of Formula One?

    When the FIA announced major changes to the rules that govern Grand Prix racing back in 2013 with a switch to hybrid engines and a focus on more intelligent driving and energy consumption management, many tipped Rosberg to be at the forefront of the new generation of Grand Prix driver. Known for his mechanical understanding and ability to absorb and use information for his own benefit, on paper the new rules looked like a perfect fit for the intelligent driver from Wiesbaden. Fresh of the back of beating the legendary Michael Schumacher when they paired together for the German marque during 2010 – 2012 seasons, Rosberg entered his relationship with Lewis Hamilton on a high at the beginning of the 2013 season, the last of the current era high revving V8 engines.

    2013 saw many flashes of promise for Nico with poles in Bahrain, Barcelona and Monaco following up with wins in the principality and the home of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in June. Indeed Rosberg ended the 2013 season with the upper hand over his 2009 World Champion teammate beating Hamilton 6 times in the final 8 races including a podiums in India and Abu Dhabi. However the writing was on the wall when one looks at the final championship standings with Hamilton sneaking the advantage by 18 points on route to P4 in the final points positions, 2 ahead of his Mercedes teammate.

    Winter development brought great gains for the Brackley operation, lifting the Mercedes team to the very front of the field with a sizable advantage over its nearest rivals when the cars headed out for first practice at the beginning of the new season. It appeared that Rosberg had a slight edge over his British teammate during the early stages of 2014, compounded with some misfortune for Hamilton leading to an early advantage in the points table and a superior qualifying record for the number 6 Mercedes. At this stage in the season it genuinely appeared that the mental edge firmly rested in the other side of the Mercedes garage with 5 wins and 7 pole positions for Nico compared to 3 wins and 4 poles for Lewis.

    The ‘Spa Incident’ and the following crowd and media reactions seemed to knock the wind out Rosberg’s sail’s and appeared to mentally destabilise the Germans championship challenge during the run to the end of the season. With Hamilton taking energy from the fan reaction and bringing his performance up to a new level, slowly but surely Rosberg’s form began to drop and numerous previously unheard of mistakes started to creep into his race performances. With the benefit of hindsight, one wonders if Nico began to suffer the same sort of issues Australian Mark Webber had to face during his title challenge in 2011, when performances rapidly began to drop during the heat of a title battle and the pressure is raised to its highest with every point counting for more than in the earlier stages of the season.


    Nico rallied somewhat at the final 3 Grand Prix and signed off with 3 successive Pole Positions (and the season ending Pole Award trophy) but never won another race after Spa, ending his season in brave but ultimately pointless fashion at Abu Dhabi has his teammate romped home to the title and the adoration of his Mercedes colleagues. Media interviews at the time with Rosberg suggested he knew where his weaknesses lay and would be redoubling his efforts during the off season to strengthen his overall package and come back into 2015 stronger and more able to take the fight to his impressive teammate.

    As is sometimes the case with drivers who narrowly miss the Championship the previous year (again think Webber 2011 – 2012) Rosberg seemed under pressure and preoccupied when the curtain fell in Melbourne this season, never quite seeming to get into the sort of early season groove he experienced the previous year. Coupled with a newly confident and maturing Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg never seemed to be able to consistently pull together those special performances required to take the fight to his teammate, and indeed the newly reborn Ferrari team now with Sebastian Vettel leading the charge for the Italian marque.

    Race wins have proven hard to come by this year for Rosberg, only taking the spoils on 3 occasions in Spain, Monaco and Austria. Recent qualifying form does seem to be returning however as Nico locked out the front position for the last 3 races, however somewhat tellingly it was his teammate who converted those races into victory while a multitude of issues prevented Rosberg from collecting the 25 points.

    Post-race at Austin, Rosberg looked every inch the broken driver, gone was the playful grin and charming personality and it its place looked like a man haunted by the fact that once again an excellent opportunity to win that elusive first World Championship has slipped through his grasp. Nico will be painfully aware that he is up against a teammate who is widely considered as one of the best in the business and currently enjoying the form of his life. Surely Rosberg will have to dig deeper still to be able to take the challenge to his rival for the remaining races and indeed for the new season in 2016.

    In every sport you have to have winners and losers, none more so than in Grand Prix racing where drivers find themselves pitched against their main rivals in equal machinery working for the same management, driving together for the benefit of their team while also racing for themselves. How one can use the energy of the others performance and analyse where advantages are won and lost can be the difference between success and failure in Formula One. Nico Rosberg is known as a very clinical and thoughtful driver but I for one can’t help but think that maybe he would be best served to take a step away from the data, stop thinking as much about comparing himself to Lewis and just concentrate on bringing back the fun and enjoyment into his driving. To do what he does best, drive quickly and win Grands Prix.

    It will be interesting to see how Rosberg reacts in five days time at the newly refurbished Mexican Grand Prix, will he come back stronger and be able to build his foundations ready for a title push in 2016? Or will he be able to hold his own against Sebastian Vettel in his fight for second place in the drivers championship?

    Whatever happens in the remainder of 2015 one thing is clear, Nico Rosberg has a lot of work to do to avoid becoming the new ‘nearly man’ of Grand Prix racing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2015
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  2. kedy89

    Premium Member

    I think 2014 was also down to not having experienced a F1 title fight before. Remember Hamilton in 2007? Unfortunately it looks like Hamilton's psychical games destroyed him, and unless he's able to show the same aggressivity towards Hamilton on track as he does towards Rosberg in the remaining races/next season, it'd probably best to change teams. Shame really considering he was there from the start and helped the team to get where they are now.

    Had to laugh about that one :roflmao:
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  3. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Member Premium Member

    I feel for Rosberg. He's truly an exceptional driver (anyone who says he's mediocre knows nothing about Formula 1), it's just that the guy across the garage is shaping up to be one of the all-time greats.

    Nico has driven very well all season, and his deficit in points to Hamilton is not always a true indication of just how close it has been. There's been a few times where he's just been utterly blown away by Hamilton, but often he's right there just a tenth or so behind. He's also suffered the majority of the reliability issues (2 v 1 to Rosberg). Having said that, the pace advantage that Lewis has had over Nico this season has been substantially larger than that of last season.

    He came so close last year, and the pouring of so much thought, energy and work into a close title fight probably took him a while to recover from last season. I think that's a large reason as to why Hamilton has trounced him in qualifying and the races this year. I don't think he's ever fully recovered from the let down of 2014.

    Will he win a championship with Merc?
    Not if Lewis is his teammate, and not if Mercedes slip down the order.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
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  4. Tim.E

    Premium Member

    No, just because he'll probably finish 2nd for the 2nd time in a row doesn't mean he's the 'nearly man'. He simply doesn't have that "bite", if you know what I mean, to win the championship. As long as Hamilton will be his teammate I'll see him finishing 2nd much more in the future
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  5. Great article Paul.
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  6. Joel


    Well here's the thing guys. We talk about a mental deficit after all the struggles of being a second driver, and we all want to see him challenge Lewis (right?). Then why do we keep on discouraging him? If Lewis comes 2nd, oh better luck next time. If Nico comes 2nd, meme game begins. I feel for that man for all the hate he has to go through. And I'm not saying you have to like him, but instead of downsizing him because he's 2nd, why not try and encourage him to be 1st?

    2016. I'm feeling good about that year. Hear me, Hamilton can't make it 3 in a row ;) Vettel or Rosberg will take the crown next year :sneaky:

    Oh and @Paul Jeffrey fabulous article :thumbsup:
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  7. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Member Premium Member

    I rate Rosberg highly I really do (anyone who can come good against Michael Schumacher is pretty special in my book).

    I just feel he’s starting to get too wrapped up in what LH is doing. Look at Webber, he was IMHO one of the best drivers of recent years, but against Seb Vet he started to fall apart and that’s what finished it off for him (plus all the blatant Red Bull favouritism etc etc).

    I still think Nico can beat Hamilton, he just needs a good start to the year next season and things will roll on from that.

    GO NICO ! :D
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  8. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Anyone who thinks Nico is nearly anything but taking a spot that many others could better fill knows nothing about racing. They both deserve each other. Next. (Still a great read though...pot stirring and well written). (BTW, Schumacher, God help him, was buddies with Vettel, not Nico, before the accident, for obvious reasons).
  9. Ryan Soucy

    Ryan Soucy
    Premium Member

    I've never heard the term "nearly man" before, but I voted yes. Because it must seem the opposite of "The Man". If Lewis is "The Man", then Nico must be the "Nearly Man".

    Nico is clearly very, very quick. He could be and likely would be a champ given the right teammate (a Rubens). But he is not the iron of F1. I would put Lewis and Ricciardo as the guys who can make the pass, Vettel and Schumie were the guys who could do the quick laps under pressure, and Alonso was the right degree of both. I rate Ricciardo higher than Nico on account of the ability to man up, but he suffers from inconsistency. The rest of the field is even more inconsistent, but I have to give credit to Sainz and Verstappen who show lots of potential.
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  10. Yapci

    Premium Member

    It's the same that happens to Lorenzo with Marquez two years ago. He started looking more to Marquez than to his own driving, and then come the failures...
  11. I would say he is more of a nowhere nearly man!!
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  12. Flying Kefran

    Flying Kefran
    From Gran Turismo to pCars

    There was an equivalent article in a french newspaper: "Will Rosberg ever become world champion ?".
    It is a tough question: he spent the two last years having the right car to be champion... and even staying in the same team or moving to another top team, it may very well happen that he will never be in such a favourable situation again.

    Nobody can tell if Mercedes will have a car allowing to fight for the championship next year. We should remenger that it was a bit a surprise that the were so fast in test session during the 2013-2014 break. It can quickly go the other way.

    Being in the right car at the right time requires some luck and cannot be planned
    Take Alonso: even considered as the "best driver in the world" by many and moving to supposed "top teams", he has not been driving the best car since 2007; he even spent several years not having any chance to become world champion again (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015).
  13. Sam Hill

    Sam Hill

    When he has his head screwed on right he is faster than Hamilton. Just look at the qually results from last season and of the last few races this year. But he was never in a championship challenging car until 2014, so he never had any experience fighting for a championship. Whereas Hamilton has never spent a year in a car that can't win. He's only won 3 out of the possible 9 championships he could have but he has been in the fight and knows how the pressure affects him. Last year Rosberg was driving into the unknown.

    I know the Hamilton fanboys will jump down my thought for saying this, but it's also very obvious that Mercedes prefer Hamilton. Yes, it's a German brand, but F1 has next to no market in Germany, they don't even have a Grand Prix anymore, whereas Britain is one of the biggest F1 countries in the world. Hamilton is therefor a much more valuable marketing asset than Rosberg, purely because of his nationality. (I find him absolutely vulgar however but that's by the by.) Merc pay Hamilton twice as much as Rosberg as well, so they're not going to waste their investment. By favouring Hamilton they can get a bigger market in Britain than they would get in Germany if they favoured Rosberg. It's all about the business. This really hurts Rosberg as it puts him in a position where he's probably not gonna get a fair shot at the title where he is, but there isn't another team with a car capable of taking the title. It's no wonder than his laid-back attitude of old has been missing recently.
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  14. I'm not Hamilton fan, and I agree that the merc team is basically british besides the stickers. But I don't think I have ever seen a better example of fair treatment within a team in F1 as I have seen these two years in Mercedes. It may be true that they smile a bigger smile when Ham wins, but they have provided exactly the same chances to Rosberg and there has not been even a whiff of complain from either driver suggesting the opposite.

    So favour animically, perhaps, but favour technically, cannot disagree more. Ros has been beaten this year fair and square.
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  15. Joel


    But Father Bernie said he wants to see Hamilton win... :sleep:

    Let the conspiracy fest begin!
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  16. [​IMG]

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  17. Tim.E

    Premium Member

    Best picture I've ever seen untill now:D
  18. kedy89

    Premium Member

    Nope, once they were fine with Hamilton ignoring teamorders in Hungary (plus Lauda's reaction on that) it was clear to everyone who they're supporting.
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  19. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    Nico is a good number 2 at the best team in F1 which compared to what most of us will achieve is pretty good. I know the rich family / poor family thing is overdone with Nico and Lewis but I think because of his background Lewis just wants it more and that is most of the difference between them.
  20. Joel


    ^^ This is exactly what I mean :D
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