2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg has got his year off as a pundit by warning Sebastian Vettel that he needs to be wary of young upstart Charles Leclerc who slots in beside him in the Ferrari garage with the intention of beating the German this season.
Ferrari’s youngest driver since Ricardo Rodriguez raced for the team in the early sixties, Leclerc has done his apprenticeship with Sauber and now is in the deep-end with the sport’s most successful team. No way has he been groomed to play second fiddle.
In a recent interview, Rosberg told Autosprint, “Vettel will have to beware because Leclerc is very strong and he will no longer have the comfort zone of [Kimi] Raikkonen. Now it will be different, Seb will have to be perfect if he wants to win.”
Perfect is something Vettel was not last year and neither was his team where inner turmoil was brushed aside as “fake news” when clearly it was not.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes were as perfect as can be, inner peace and harmony, as the Briton collected his fifth F1 world title, the tenth in five years won by the Silver Arrows who also walked away with the constructors’ last year.
As for Vettel’s mistake-strewn campaign last season, Rosberg said, “I do not know exactly what happened to him but this is sport sometimes it seems everything is going in the right direction, then you just need one mistake to bring you down, you lose confidence and everything goes wrong.”
“The same thing happened to me against Hamilton in 2015,” recalled Rosberg, before explaining how he went on to beat his nemesis a year later.
“With Lewis I needed to change my attitude, I decided that I had to be the one to lead the game. Lewis always tends to impose his rules but I took control so as not to allow him to find the motivation. And I won.”
Commitment is where Vettel trumps Hamilton reckons Rosberg, “Vettel is superior in terms of dedication to work, he works closely with the engineers. It is a devotion that Hamilton does not have.”