Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

Hamilton vs Rosberg: The result after four years

2016 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement created a headache for Mercedes and also brought to an end what had been the longest-running driver partnership in F1 currently.

He and Lewis Hamilton originally teamed up at Mercedes in 2013. The pair already knew each other well from their karting days, but one feature remained constant until their final year together in F1: Hamilton always managed to out-score Rosberg over a season.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2015
Rosberg bounced back from a poor 2015
That changed in 2016, when Rosberg beat Hamilton to the title. The role technical problems may have played in that have already been covered at length here previously. But does the data show Rosberg also raised his game in 2016 compared to previous seasons?

A few interesting points stand out when examining Rosberg and Hamilton’s win/lose records in qualifying and races from their time together at Mercedes (below). The first is that 2015 was clearly Rosberg’s weakest season against Hamilton, especially prior to the final three races of the season, at which point the title had been settled.

After he won the title this year Rosberg has described the lengths he went to improve his performance in 2016. This included buying a kart to hone his racecraft and using meditation to sharpen his mental approach.

This didn’t transform him into a quicker driver than Hamilton. But compared to his form over the first 13 races of 2015, Rosberg was at least able to out-qualify his team mate on merit at times and convert the points-scoring opportunities which followed. That proved decisive in a season when Hamilton experienced a disproportionately high number of technical problems.

While few would dispute Hamilton was the better driver of the pair, many might have expected the scale of his superiority over Rosberg to have been greater during the past four years. He won the qualifying battle 42-34 and came ahead in races 39-27. Given that, a championship scoreline of 2-1 instead of 3-0 doesn’t seem unfair.

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Hamilton vs Rosberg, 2013-16

2013

AUSMALCHIBAHSPAMONCANBRIGERHUNBELITASINSOUJAPINDABUUNIBRA
Lewis HamiltonQ
R

2014

AUSMALBAHCHISPAMONCANAUSBRIGERHUNBELITASINJAPRUSUSABRAABU
Lewis HamiltonQ
R

2015

AUSMALCHIBAHSPAMONCANAUSBRIHUNBELITASINJAPRUSUSAMEXBRAABU
Lewis HamiltonQ
R

2016

AUSBAHCHIRUSSPAMONCANEURAUTGBRHUNGERBELITASINMALJAPUNIMEXBRAABU
Lewis HamiltonQ
R

NB. The 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been treated as a single points round.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 89 comments on “Hamilton vs Rosberg: The result after four years”

    1. In the accumulated points graph Lewis gets only 15 points for the last race (from 1146 points to 1161)…?
      Do we have another contender for the post race 3rd place tombola?

      1. We are missing 8 races, so race 70 is Spa 2016…? (66-69 went to LH)

        1. Yes, you’re right, there are some races missing, and also the double points at Abu Dhabi in 2014 accentuated the difference between the drivers.
          2013 – 2015 season = 19 races each, 2016 season = 21 races.
          3 x 19 = 57 + 21 =78 races.
          2013 season (after 19 races) LH = 189 points (189 points on the graph), NR = 171 points (graph =171)
          2014 season (after 38 races) LH = 384 + 189 = 573 (graph = 548), NR = 317 + 171 = 488 (graph = 488)
          2015 season (after 57 races) LH= 381 + 573 = 954 (graph = 929), NR = 322 + 488 = 810 (graph = 810)
          2016 season (after 78 races) LH= 380 + 954 = 1334 (graph = 1161), NR = 385 + 810 = 1195 (graph = 1033)
          Conclusion: The graph makes the points difference between Hamilton and Rosberg look smaller than it really is.
          (Races results taken from Wikipedia).

      2. Apologies the last eight points on that graph weren’t displaying – they should be visible now.

    2. I don’t think 2015 was Rosberg’s weakest year (although statistics may say so). Even prior to Hamilton winning the title at US GP, there were 2 weekends where Nico was faster than Hamilton (Austria and Spain). He even managed to overtake Hamilton on track at Britain and Austin in 2015. Compare that to just 1 clean weekend in 2014 (Brazil, and even that can be argued that Hamilton could have won in spite of getting second call on strategy had he not spun) where Nico was faster and he couldn’t overtake Hamilton in Bahrain in spite of a significant tyre advantage.

      Nico clearly upped his game from 2014 to 2015 and the following year as well.

      Now, before Hamilton supporters jump on me for saying “Nico has upped his game”, please keep in mind that I am only comparing Nico of different years and not comparing Nico to Hamilton. As far as my opinion on Nico vs Hamilton is concerned, I think Hamilton was better in every year of their partnership. Unfortunately for Hamilton, the year with his highest unreliability coincided with Nico’s strongest year. And that is the only reason for Hamilton not being the 2016 champion.

      1. @Sumedh I think your last two sentences sum it up well.

        I just like that Nico at least kept LH on his toes at all times. There wouldn’t have been the rivalry on the track and off the track if he hadn’t done so. He was always a threat.

        I do wish that the cars weren’t so clean air dependent though, and hope that’s about to change, and that they could have fought more closely, as I wish that for all drivers and for the show. After LH sealed the WDC in 2015 NR lead him for the last 3 races and we numerous times heard LH complain ‘you can’t pass with these cars’ speaking to how handcuffed a driver is in dirty air, which would obviously have been NR’s plight many times too. I’m not trying to claim that would have advantaged NR, it just would have been interesting to see an even more enthralling rivalry with less follow whoever is the leader. So glad to see those limiting gadgety tires gone and a new chapter ahead.

        1. I do wish that the cars weren’t so clean air dependent though, and hope that’s about to change …

          I’m not expecting the situation to improve with the new rules.

      2. Even prior to Hamilton winning the title at US GP, there were 2 weekends where Nico was faster than Hamilton (Austria and Spain).

        And Russia

      3. What if the last race of 2016 is also a double point system like 2014 would nico rosberg be a champion not unlike in 2015 were the championship had been won 3 races before the season ends. In 2016 hamilton has edge rosberg in qualifying ,remember that hamilton did not participate 3 times in qualifying in 2016 because of mechanical reason and eve in numbers of wins hamilton always edges rosberg every year.

      4. @Sumedh Agree. In 2015 Rosberg was significantly closer to Hamilton than in 2014 in the races. Until the summer break he was actually quite close in the championship, but then he suffered a couple of DNFs, which made his performance look worse than it actually was. Actually, in 2013 they were also very close, which makes me believe that 2014 was a rather poor season for Rosberg. Even though he out-qualified Hamilton, he was nowhere near as strong in the races and he seemed to buckle under pressure.

    3. I wonder what would have happened had not Hamilton fans booed Rosberg Spa 2014. That seemed to have a profound effect.

      1. Just Hamilton fans who booed ? There must have been a lot of Hamilton fans in the crowd then !

      2. In what sense? Rosberg declined after Spa 2014 as Hamilton romped to the championship. Was that down to being booed or – I suggest far more likely – to Rosberg being read the riot act by Mercedes management after taking out Hamilton at Spa, intentionally or otherwise. In fact Rosberg’s window of improved form was between Monaco and his qualifying spin-off, which was the very clear downturn in their relationship, and Spa.

        My own guess would be that after Austin 2015, Mercedes redressed the balance somewhat by agreeing with Rosberg that Hamilton had been over-aggressive and alllowing him to take on Hamilton in the remainder of the season (when it was irrelevant) and in 2016 up to Spain and then Austria, after which they seem to have just wanted to see Rosberg win primarily as a solution to the rivalry. I wonder if Wolff is now quite so understanding of Rosberg’s surprise decision to retire, though. Leaving his team in the lurch suddenly after bagging his championship doesn’t seem particularly loyal or grateful.

        1. Had the roles been reversed in Abu Dhabi 2014 and Hamilton had the reliability issues that affected Rosberg during the race……..then Nico would have been champ !!!!

          1. @Greig: There were a lot of “what-ifs” in 2014, and things are not quite as simple as you say. Yes, Rosberg had reliability issues in that race, but even he acknowledged they didn’t affect the result. Hamilton stormed into the lead from P2 (Rosberg was on pole), and controlled the race from there on. For Rosberg to have won the title, he would have needed to win and Hamilton finish 3rd or lower. If not for the double points rule, Hamilton would have only had to finish 6th or better.
            You’re technically correct that if Hamilton had suffered Rosberg’s mechanical failure in that particular race, Rosberg would have won the title. But that was a season where mechanicals hindered Hamilton more than Rosberg – Hamilton had an engine misfire in Australia that forced him to retire on lap 2; his brakes blew up in qualifying in Germany causing a big crash; his brakes failed in Canada forcing a DNF; his car caught fire in Q1 in Hungary; he was knocked out of the race by Rosberg in Spa. Rosberg benefited from all of those issues.
            Which is why they run the races, and why “what-ifs” don’t count.

    4. So Lewis spanked him !

      1. If that makes you feel better about Lewis losing to him, then yes.

    5. I am getting so sick and tired of the hyped-up, lame excuse that “Hamilton experienced a disproportionately high number of technical problems”, repeated again and again ad nauseam. Was Hamilton a quicker driver than Rosberg? Yes. Why? Because he uses the material available to him more aggressively than did Rosberg, who was a much smoother driver. BECAUSE of Hamilton’s approach; using the material more aggressively, he was more likely to suffer mechanical problems. The best example of this was the Canadian GP of 2014:

      “Hamilton and Rosberg suffered almost simultaneous MGU-K failures, occurring on lap 37 and 38 respectively. The loss of the MGU-K systems caused the Mercedes cars to effectively lose around 160 horsepower and put additional strain on their rear brakes.” While the aggressive Hamilton exacerbated the brake problems and failed to bring his Merc to the finish line and retired, the smooth Rosberg managed to nurse his car home in an excellent second place. Hamilton is out-and-out attack, which is why he is so loved. But it also leaves him at the mercy of the material and he IS prone to mechanical failure.

      Now will you please stop pandering to the misconceptions of delusional fans and start covering the real stories factually please, Keith?

      1. So all his failures in practice and qualifying with relatively unstressed components was entirely his doing and not at all influenced by chance? I recall Hamilton generally using less fuel than Rosberg, so can you outline in exactly what respects Hamilton was more aggressive?

        1. @Matt90 (“so can you outline in exactly what respects Hamilton was more aggressive?”) In his driving style. He attacks corners harder and is harder on the brakes.

          @John H (“perhaps you can enlighten us as to how Hamilton’s driving led to any of the problems in 2016″) As above plus he made not a few errors himself such as Baku which definitely not was down to a disproportionately high number of technical problems”.

          @David BR (“Mercedes knew Hamilton’s style when they hired him and really should be building cars accordingly.”) First, you’ve got that the wrong way around. Second, if they did the car would be built more on the lines of a tank – heavier and slower, but more reliable.

          @Stubborn Swiss (“By the way, if you are so sick and tired with a topic, why do you keep posting about it?”) Because I love F1 and want to read articles that analyse and report in depth, NOT ones which endlessly repeat lame excuses why The Darling didn’t win, was robbed etc. This year, Rosberg pulled his act together and was the better driver of the Mercedes even if Hamilton is the quicker driver. Hamilton has only himself to blame for not doing the same. And do remember that one of the reasons Hamilton won the final four races was that Rosberg no longer needed to win!

          @Chris (“I too am sick and tired of people trying to make out that Lewis’s mechanical woes where down to his driving. There is no evidence this us the case. “) Strewth! I just quoted the Canadian GP of 2014 which is conclusive. Who do you ignore that? Because it doesn’t fit in with your pet beliefs?

          1. Nothing you said explains how he is at fault for any of his mechanical issues in 2016.

          2. @Henrik: The one big mechanical that stands out as a championship changer in 2016 was Malaysia. Please explain how an oil seal failure causing a big end bearing to seize when Hamilton was 20 seconds ahead of Rosberg was down to Hamilton’s aggressive driving style.
            You use of the term “The Darling” for Hamilton shows your bias, and unfortunately destroys your credibility.
            Yes, Hamilton is a late braker. But that is not what damaged his brakes in Canada 2014. The Wikipedia article you quote (but don’t credit) does not give any support for your contention that race is “conclusive” (your word) proof that Hamilton’s driving style causes him to suffer more mechanical problems than Rosberg. Unless you were part of the Mercedes F1 team that year, you can’t possibly know what the actual details were of the failures of incredibly complicated parts.
            And while we’re on the subject of 2014, how did Hamilton’s driving style cause the engine misfire in Australia? Or the disc explosion in Germany? Or the engine fire in Q1 in Hungary?
            Hamilton’s driving style was blamed for him destroying tyres, but these days he’s considered to be one of the drivers who can get more laps out of tyres. Do you ignore all this because it doesn’t fit with your beliefs?
            I’m afraid your bias is causing you to create evidence to support your predetermined theory.

      2. That single case aside from 2014 which was a charge failure which Rosberg expertly drove around (the failure happened before they started nursing their cars), perhaps you can enlighten us as to how Hamilton’s driving led to any of the problems in 2016… you know, with some of the facts that seem to be the cornerstone of your argument. Thanks.

        1. Facts….. Rosberg is WDC. Move on.

          1. So that Rosberg is WDC is “fact” to Hamilton’s mechanical failures?

      3. Well, Mercedes knew Hamilton’s style when they hired him and really should be building cars accordingly. The fault lies in their design and manufacture processes, not his driving, as they basically agreed every time something failed.

        On the other hand, if we hadn’t had ‘tire kindergarten’ nursing the past few years in Formula 1, for example, this discussion wouldn’t even be taking place. Drivers like Hamilton and Alonso would be even further ahead of the ‘smooth driving’ team mates. Same goes for DRS, another equalizing/levelling measure, designed, along with rubbish tires, for those who can’t overtake as well.

        1. So it’s Mercedes fault for manufacturing a dominant car 3 years in a row?

          1. No, it’s to Mercedes’s merit that they produced a title-winning car, undoubtedly. But the team accepted blame for the mechanical issues Hamilton had this year (and Rosberg too in other seasons). It’s not a question of Hamilton wrecking the car.

      4. Henrik…
        “I am getting so sick and tired of the hyped-up, lame excuse that “Hamilton experienced a disproportionately high number of technical problems””. But he did, didn’t he?

        Anyway, facts show that Hamilton is the better driver. Stats show that Hamilton is the better driver. Just about everyone that is anyone in F1 agrees that Hamilton is the better driver.

        Is Rosberg a talented driver? Absolutely. Did he win the 2016 WDC? Absolutely. Did he deserve to win it? That is relative, and depends on individual perception.

        By the way, if you are so sick and tired with a topic, why do you keep posting about it?

        1. “By the way, if you are so sick and tired with a topic, why do you keep posting about it?” – well said. +1

      5. I agree with your comments, I believe how you use the power unit contributes or impairs reliability. That said, when you look at the 2016 race results it seems really there were only two races where one could argue Hamilton was affected by reliability, which were the Chinese GP and the Malaysian GP. At China Hamilton started at the back of the grid and finished 7th, and he retired at Malaysia.

        1. Do you have any evidence that Lewis used his power units in a manner that resulted in the failures?

      6. @Henrik
        I too am sick and tired of people trying to make out that Lewis’s mechanical woes where down to his driving. There is no evidence this us the case. The team should be building a car to cope with his style. In addition, Lewis is constantly one of the most fuel effecient drivers out there, not something associated with someone known for aggressive driving. Lewis is typically in a higher gear than Rossberg on some corner exits, mainly for better exit traction and less wheel spin but that’s just one of the subtleties between the 2.

      7. “Hamilton and Rosberg suffered almost simultaneous MGU-K failures, occurring on lap 37 and 38 respectively. The loss of the MGU-K systems caused the Mercedes cars to effectively lose around 160 horsepower and put additional strain on their rear brakes.” While the aggressive Hamilton exacerbated the brake problems and failed to bring his Merc to the finish line and retired, the smooth Rosberg managed to nurse his car home in an excellent second place. Hamilton is out-and-out attack, which is why he is so loved. But it also leaves him at the mercy of the material and he IS prone to mechanical failure”

        The failure in Canada 2014 first occurred on Hamilton’s car, once it became apparent it would affect both cars, Rosberg was instructed to move his brake balance forward. Also it got worse for Lewis because of the pit stop.

    6. I still believe that Rosberg is underrated. If Mercedes had (for whatever reason) opted for Perez or Button instead of Hamilton at the end of 2012, then Rosberg would now be praised as a triple world champion. The way he fared against Hamilton and 2010s Schumacher makes me believe that.

      Sometimes I do not get why some Hamilton fans dismiss Rosberg as a poor driver. That just makes Hamilton’s achievements look less special. Personally, I have no doubt that Hamilton is one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time and that Rosberg is one of the very few drivers, who have been able to make his life difficult without driving a car that is in a different league.

      I am afraid that this year Mercedes’s intra-team battle will be much more one-sided. Also, I am pretty sure that one day most F1 fans of today will look back at 2016, probably having forgotten about Trump and Brexit but knowing that it was when ‘Hamilton and Rosberg ruled the sport’.

      1. Rosberg is one of the very few drivers, who have been able to make his life difficult

        Lets not forget that Jenson mentally broke Hamilton in 2011 and pushed Hamilton out of his own team in 2012. If Rosberg is to be considered one of the best, then so should Jenson. But I really think that Nico and Jenson are just average drivers and Hamilton is massively overhyped.

        1. “Mentally broke”. What garbage. Hamilton had a bad season in 2011 – crashing into Massa much of the time. You’d expect a world champion driver such as Button to perform to a decent level and at least take advantage of his team mate’s poor form, which he did. I don’t know why I’m taking the troll bait because you must know Button had nothing to do with Hamilton’s switch. Forseeing McLaren’s demise after they spoilt his 2012 championship campaign is the actual reason.

          1. Forseeing McLaren’s demise after they spoilt his 2012 championship campaign is the actual reason.

            Now, now, no… The biggest luck ever is what his move was, Hamilton could not have known anything about the new car or that Mercedes would be so dominant or even better than McLaren. Button, Coulthard and many others have said so. On top of the the 2012 McLaren was the fastest car on the grid, be it not so reliable.

            1. @xtwl – “Hamilton could not have known anything about the new car or that Mercedes would be so dominant” – but of course, he did know that the new McLaren wasn’t promising and that Ross Brawn was very, very confident about the new Mercedes. It was a risky move but maybe Hamilton was simply better informed than Button and DC. That’s what happens when you’re head-hunted, you get a better class of lure.

            2. @tribaltalker Yes, that’s how it works, they head hunt a driver and show them all the goods before he has even signed,…also Hamilton couldn’t have known the McLaren wasn’t going to be any good because he hadn’t driven that car either. As much as we praise the drivers they’re not all knowing car specialists.

            3. @xtwl

              If Ross Brawn, Niki Lauda, Paddy Lowe and Toto tell you their new works car, backed by the full might of the Mercedes company is going to be the future car to beat then you’d be a complete idiot to disagree with them, especially when the current team is showing signs of imploding.

            4. @PorshceF1

              Oh, so when Lewis said he sat down with Ross, listened to what he had to say and done his due diligence before making his decision, was just a lie?

              It wasn’t luck, he was given the necessary information and made an informed decision.

          2. Over they’re entire time as team mates at McLaren Button scored more points than Hamilton!!!

            1. @Greig Have you actually seen the season why Button “got” rather then scored more points then Hamilton ?. Hamilton oblitirated Button even lapping him in Canada, was it not for the bad pitstop and poor strategy and being taken out by Hulkenberg inthe last race then Hamilton would even he McLaren’s last winner. The fact that Mercedes made progress and McLaren not in 2013 showed Hamilton’s worth.

        2. Since Hamilton left McLaren, they nor Jenson have won. That alone speaks volumes of Lewis’ worth.

        3. It’s interesting to the depths that some will go, with comments like, ” Jenson mentally broke Hamilton in 2011.” That breakdown that Lewis supposedly suffered in 2011, surely didn’t last too long, because in 2012 Hamilton was in contention for the WDC, as in 2010. In those 3 years when Lewis and Jenson were being teamed together. Button was at no time, ever in the running for a WDC, but the same can’t be said for Lewis.

        4. “Lets not forget that Jenson mentally broke Hamilton in 2011”

          haha..@Mark Jackson, I think you’ve mistaken Jenson Button for Nicole Sherzinger (or however the @#$! you’d spell that!)

      2. As a Hamilton (and now Verstappen) fan I’ve no problem recognising Rosberg’s technical skill, speed and ability to piece together a fast race weekend. I always thought he was an above average driver, as proven against Schumacher. In fact I had no issue with him until Monaco 2014, when he resorted to Schumacheresque tactics to gain an advantage. After that, especially his refusal to do the basics – apologise immediately to the other drivers, including Hamilton, for winning by default (his fault), the criticisms from Hamilton fans undoubtedly and probably deservedly mounted.

        1. Rosberg seems fast, tough, dedicated, analytical but lacking in some areas of racecraft. In interviews he doesn’t appear to have that fire and passion we see in some other top racers. He infrequently makes what seem to me to be very bad decisions under extreme pressure. As a result I think he is often underrated.

          1. @tribaltalker You yourself admit Rosberg is……

            … “lacking in some areas of racecraft”…..

            … “doesn’t appear to have that fire and passion”…

            … “makes what seem to me to be very bad decisions under extreme pressure”…

            And after all of this you claim he is “often underrated”?

          2. I think I get what you mean. His ‘very bad decisions under extreme pressure’ always seem to be a question mark: poor judgment (in terms of space, speed etc.) or deliberately ‘letting stuff happen’ like colliding with HAM at Spa, losing the corner weirdly at 2014 Monaco qualifying, colliding again with HAM this year, twice. It’s not an insignificant collection of similar incidents. To me it suggests someone racing just beyond their limits and, getting beaten, loses control of the car. Only he knows he’s going to lose it sometimes and adds that into the equation. Or added, I should say, past tense. (For now, I reckon he may be back somewhere else in a year or two, Ferrari??! Seems to fit their standard.)

    7. Rosberg was one of the very few drivers on the grid (including VET ALO RIC VES) who could give consistently Hamilton a run for his money in qualifying (which is really the only thing that matters in a car as dominant as the Mercedes) and occasionally come out on top. The End.

      1. Alonso hasn’t ever been one of the best qualifiers.

    8. Hamilton is and will always be the better driver bottom line, Rosberg will always be in the shadow where he belongs
      won’t be missed

      1. The better driver won. This year, that was Nico Rosberg. Yes, Hamilton had some bad luck, but I didn’t see him declining past championships when good luck helped him win. Hamilton also made far too many unforced errors.

        1. As Keith and many others have said, “the better driver doesn’t always win”

          Rosberg was not the better driver, he just had a more reliable car.

      2. @Fay
        Massive upvotes !!!!

    9. The powers of perception.In 1993-97 Alesi accumulated eerily similar numbers as team-mate to Gerhard Berger(albeit over 5 seasons because of smaller number of races per season ), as Hamilton vs Rosberg(exactly the same in case of qualifying). Beat him 4/5 seasons in qualy, 4/5 seasons was ahead in the points, scored more points overall of course. And yet, some think Berger was better than Alesi. How come no one thinks Rosberg is better than Hamiton?

      Anyway, kudos to NR. He knew he was up against a greater talent, yet he fought tooth and nail for all his worth. In the end he proved, that if you dig deep enough, once in a while you can beat someone better than yourself.

      1. It is pretty obvious that in general Hamilton’s the better driver of the two though. I wasn’t alive in the Alesi-Bergher era, so I can’t say who I thought was better on that front.

    10. Coincidence or not – Rosberg’s worst races were during wife’s pregnancy (start of 2015) and best results after daugher’s birth (Augus 2015)

      1. So what were the reasons for his poor form from Monaco to Germany 2016?

        1. @kgn11 His wife’s period maybe..

    11. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      2nd January 2017, 18:44

      Rosberg absolutely destroyed Hamilton oveer the 4 years, it’s just Hamilton’s lucky reliability record that caused the difference…

      1. The most insightful comment I have read in 65 yrs and I don’t ever expect to read another statement with such depth insight and sheer expanse of intellectual brilliance for another 65 yrs…….you should be knighted. And now for the real reason you will never be knighted…………

        1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
          2nd January 2017, 22:29

          @macradar Thanks man. Appreciate the positive feedback and can see you’re someone who shares the same opinion as me. But I’d prefer not to be knighted. Who wants to be knighted and join the likes of Jimmy Savile?

          1. @come-on-kubica…hahaha…good one! +100

    12. What is this, another reminder of what we already knew: Hamilton>Rosberg

    13. I think @girts puts it very well, had Mercedes not hired Hamilton but some extract of Massa we’d be looking at a triple champion retiring with possibly some 40-45 race wins over three season. He’d be heralded as the best there ever was. Hamilton could join the Alonso club of men that want and deserve more titles.

      In the end it’s all perspective. I really think Rosberg deserved one title, and I won’t remember him as one of the best, let us not forget Hamilton has three, Vettel has four. That’s still quite a unique club.

      1. No, Rosberg would be put on the same level more or less as Vettel, fast enough to win titles in the best car, but with doubts about whether he could face a real challenge from a better team mate than your hypothetical Massa (e.g. Hamilton). The counterfactual happened though: Rosberg was tested by someone who would have been identified as a real challenger, and he overall he indeed lost.

        1. He won one :). That’s all that matters for him. I think hamilton is an exceptional talent and it takes everything a racer has to fight him and win. Or at least put yourself in a position to beat him if something happens to his engine.

          They drove the merc to almost exactly the same times most of the time. I am sure Hamilton will miss rosberg in a way, cause he pushed him to give it everything. And all very competitive sporters want to win from the best. I think Rosberg is a better driver then Bottas and only a couple of guys can beat him. But no point in speculating, cause he will never drive f1 again.

        2. On the same level as Vettel? Vettel is a four-time world champion, which is one more than Hamilton has managed despite spending more time in Formula One. If anything, Vettel is on a level above Hamilton. For one, he has never been beaten by a teammate to a world title, which shows that he has never been in a championship winning car without being able to deliver the title. And if Rosberg is as average as people here are saying, Hamilton’s achievements are similar to Vettel’s against a supposedly inferior teammate but worse since he actually lost the title once. Secondly, Vettel has only lost to his teammate once (2014) while Hamilton lost out to his teammate twice (2011 and 2016). And if we look at the Mercedes era and the 8 non-Mercedes wins, Vettel beat the Mercedes on merit and racecraft all three times whereas Ricciardo and Verstappen benefitted from Mercedes’ problems for 4 out of their combined 5 wins (Hungary 2014 the exception).

          I am not belittling Hamilton here. He is one of the greatest F1 racers of all time. But Vettel is on the same level and you seemed to suggest otherwise.

          1. Yes I did, I don’t think Vettel is on the same level as Hamilton (or Alonso, or the level Verstappen will probably reach, or Ricciardo). Just my view.

    14. Stories like this are probably why nico retired… the poor guy just cannot get out of lewis’ shadow… even after winning a wdc.

      We know it’s the off season, but how many times are you going to write this article?

      1. As annoying as it could be for non Hamilton fans, this article is stating facts. Nothing wrong with it.

      2. “We know it’s the off season, but how many times are you going to write this article?”

        Personally, the more I read it the more I truly appreciate just how exceptionally talented Hamilton is as an F1 driver.

        Come on Keith, do give us this story a few more times before the season start…… :)

    15. Hamilton is just that tiniest little bit faster than Nico. But, as all the pro commentators like to point out, that last tenth or tenth and a half is the hardest to find, and is what separates the super super hyper great drivers from the mere super great. That’s the story of their four seasons in F1.

    16. @keithcollantine

      Can you put together a top 10 races by Nico Rosberg now that he is retired, similar to Massa and Button top drives articles? Thank you!

    17. Nico Rosberg- a talented “gentleman racer” who stood his own against one of the best drivers of his generation. On his day he was able to take it to Hamilton on pure pace and that has to be appreciated. Won a WDC when the stars aligned for him while his team mate hit mechanical trouble + clutch issues and I for one think he is a deserved one time champ. A 3-1 score against Hamilton isn’t bad at all but I think even the staunchest of anti Lewis fanclub will have a tough time saying overall Nico was the better driver. Just remember there are drivers who won the WDC with a sparser skill set than Nico- including his own father, Keke.

    18. As a number of others have said, being able to put a great driver under pressure in the same car, to stick with a great driver, or to outperform them is no small thing. Lewis Hamilton is a great driver and could end up with all the major statistics as both he and Mercedes have performed well. But let’s shake down the numbers a bit…

      Over four years, Hamilton had 10 more wins, 7 more podiums, 6 more poles, 2 more fastest laps, 2 fewer retirements/non-classifications, and 114 more points (abu double removed for what should be clear reasons).

      When you divide that over the four seasons, you get an average season result (sadly with a non-round number of 19.5 GPs in this average season) of: HAM has 2.5 more wins, 1.75 more podiums, 1.5 more poles, 0.5 more FLaps, 0.5 fewer retirements, and 28.5 more points.

      So, the person who has every chance at beating MSC’s records outperformed his teammate over four seasons by 1.12pts per race, despite fewer DNFs. While MSC outperformed Barrichello by 2.55pts per race under the old points system(s) and adjusted is something like 6.39pts per race. And Vettel beat Webber by 4.62pts per race.

      I’m not trying to find ways to say Rosberg is better than Hamilton. What I am saying is that he is a very good driver who beat an unretired MSC, and who pushed the driver who may exceed MSC’s records to his limits in the same car. Like others have said, if Rosberg is a bad driver, then Hamilton isn’t that good. But if Hamilton is as good as some say (and he appears to be), then even Hamilton fans need to start giving Rosberg is due.

      1. “He won the qualifying battle 42-34 and came ahead in races 39-27.”

        Man, 4 seasons in the same car with Hamilton, 3 lossing, and rather than give up he kept fighting.

        Clearly he is an exceptionally good qualifier. And what he might have lacked race craft he compensated for with determination.

        Yeah, 1 of the three Mercedes WDC seems about right.

    19. To settle the argument about reliability for Hamilton v Rosberg, can someone put together a detailed analysis of their technical failures over the past four years? Keith is that possible? (you did something similar for Vettel v Webber, and it dispelled the myth that Webber copped all the bad luck).

      My quick analysis/recollection was that Rosberg had worse reliability in 2013 and 2015, and Hamilton worse in 2014 (though only slightly) and 2016.

    20. While few would dispute Hamilton was the better driver of the pair, many might have expected the scale of his superiority over Rosberg to have been greater during the past four years.

      And this here is the nub of the issue. If Lewis beats anyone, then it is expected of him. However, If anyone beats him, then that person is lauded with praises, and Lewis suddenly isn’t that good, has lost motivation, partied too much, or any of the myriad of reasons trotted out.

      The question is …WHY?

    21. @keithcollantine any chance you can get the stats back up on old pages like this?

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