Are Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton Still Friends After Hostile Relationship as Mercedes Teammates?
The Mercedes F1 team announced a dream line-up in 2013 when they confirmed that Lewis Hamilton would replace the retiring Michael Schumacher to join forces with childhood karting teammate Nico Rosberg.
The duo were the best of mates during their childhood despite being extremely competitive while karting. The two have also explained in several interviews how they would have different kinds of bets during their younger days to test who was the faster driver between them.
While Hamilton and Rosberg were the best of mates even when they began racing for Mercedes in 2013, things quickly turned sour in 2014 when the team produced a car that was capable of fighting for the championship.
The pair would not only have several collisions on track but would also share a cold relationship off it. After undergoing all the stresses while being teammates with Hamilton, Rosberg would finally retire after he won the championship in 2016.
Since retirement, Rosberg has often cited how he did not share the best of relationships with Hamilton while they were teammates at Mercedes.
However, he did state that he was keen on finding a way to mend the antipathy that grew between them. Hence, this begs whether Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are still friends after the former’s retirement from F1.
Are Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton still friends?
After retiring from F1 at the end of the 2016 season, Nico Rosberg opened up in an interview in 2017 about how he hoped to rekindle his friendship with Lewis Hamilton.
While speaking to Graham Bensinger, the German said, “I’m open to finding our way and even having a good relationship again in the future”. In the same interview, he also stated how Hamilton was one of the first drivers he spoke to when he decided to retire after the 2016 season.
Rosberg stated that it was important for him to have a chat with the Briton about the same, as the two had spent three years of a fierce battle with each other, and several years before as childhood friends.
Regarding their friendship, the two seem to have found a way to set apart their differences. Rosberg explained in another interview in 2022 that he and Hamilton live in the same building in Monaco and that ‘all was good’ between them.
When did Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton’s relationship turn sour?
Soon after Nico Rosberg retired, he told Eurosport in an interview about when his relationship with Lewis Hamilton turned sour.
The German said that the two were good mates until the end of the 2013 season and that things only began to take a turn for the worse between them when they began fighting for the championship. However, he believes the relationship was bound to turn tense when the two began fighting for their childhood dreams.
When asked if he regretted how fierce things got between him and Hamilton, Rosberg replied, “I don’t regret anything. It was a sensational time and a mega fight. I’m very proud of that.”
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A brief timeline of events that led to Rosberg announcing retirement in 2016
The first point of tension between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton came at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2014 when the two fought for the win of the race. While the two drivers did not make any contact with each other, they did have a tense wheel-to-wheel battle until the finish line.
It was not until the Monaco Grand Prix that year that things significantly took a turn for the worse. During the third qualifying session, Rosberg initially set a mega lap time that was good enough for the provisional pole.
Soon after, he returned to the track in an attempt to beat his previous lap time. However, he made a mistake and went wide, thereby bringing out yellow flags. As a result, all drivers behind him, including Hamilton, were forced to abandon their lap.
The Briton was obviously not pleased with the incident. When asked if he believed that Rosberg did so on purpose, Hamilton refused to answer the question, but he stated, “I should have known that was going to happen.”
After this incident, Hamilton revealed that the duo were no longer friends. This was the first major point of tension between the two and things only got worse from this point. From this point onwards, the duo made contact on track several times and had minimal conversations.
The most notable incidents when they made contact came in the 2016 season when the two arguably had the closest fight for the championship.
The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix saw Hamilton and Rosberg taking each other out of the race’s lead. Following the incident, both drivers blamed each other for the collision.
A similar incident followed at the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix when both Mercedes drivers once again made contact while leading the race. However, on this occasion, the two, fortunately, finished the race, albeit Rosberg ended up in a worse situation.
If the rivalry were not bad enough at this point, it would reach its boiling point at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, as both drivers were still in the hunt for the championship.
At this stage, Rosberg led Hamilton by 12 points and needed only a third-place finish to win the title. All was going to plan for Rosberg until the final few laps of the place as he was comfortably placed in second, behind Hamilton.
However, little did the German know that Hamilton would deliberately slow down to back him further into the chasing pack, with Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel not too further back. Despite the Briton’s strategy, Rosberg dealt with all the pressure brilliantly and won his maiden championship by five points.
The championship took so much out of Rosberg that he shocked F1 fans worldwide by announcing his sudden retirement soon after.
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