Former teammate warns Russell of Hamilton’s dirty mind games – “Beating Lewis nearly cost Rosberg his life”

Former Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has shed light on the excruciating condition Nico Rosberg was in following his maiden F1 championship win over Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s former Mercedes teammate Rosberg (who could even come out of retirement in 2023!) admitted to being pushed to the absolute limit in his passage to world glory.

At the time, the two had been teammates for four years and despite being great friends since childhood, growing friction between them was apparent for all to see.

Prior to this, Hamilton had won the championship for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 at Mercedes.

Although Rosberg was regarded as a competent driver in his own regard, it shocked the entire racing community when he pipped Hamilton to the title.

With mental fatigue following such a grueling season taking precedence, Rosberg decided to call it time on his career and retire from the sport.

Kovalainen explains why facing Hamilton is exhausting

Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton. Credit:

Hamilton’s former teammate Kovalainen discussed why it is so exhausting to go up against Hamilton.

“Occasionally I could match him but over the full season I had to stretch every session to match him,” he said.

“You can only do so much stretching and then you run out of energy and that was the case with me, I didn’t have enough margin in my capacity to do the times and the races that he did, so it was not easy.

“His level of performance is so high that even for super talents like Max it requires a lot of effort, a lot of focus, a lot of energy, so it’s not going to be easy, not everyone can handle that, it’s as simple as that.

“I think Rosberg had to use all the tools from his toolbox to be able to beat Lewis and that nearly killed him, he said it himself, he couldn’t have done another season like that or he’d be dead.”

Kovalainen offers advice to Russell

Heikki Kovalainen. Credit:

Now, Hamilton is lining up alongside young British prodigy George Russell.

Kovalainen had a rather poor record against Hamilton, managing to beat him in only one race during their time together at McLaren.

He explained what Russell needs to be careful about and offered him tips on trying to stay one step ahead of Hamilton in battles off the track.

“Maybe one reason that I’ve always gotten on well with Lewis, especially when I was his teammate, is that I never seriously became a huge threat for him,” Kovalainen said.

“It’s just a hard fact, him and Rosberg for example, they didn’t get along well and I believe that one of the reasons was that Rosberg was able to resist him harder, and he was doing some things that weren’t nice but were probably necessary in the battle.”

Till now, Hamilton and Russell have maintained a united front as they look for some much-needed speed and consistency heading into the Australian Grand Prix.

Read more: Lewis Hamilton silences pre-season critics with cheeky George Russell message

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