Former world champion Nico Rosberg feels that Max Verstappen enjoys a distinct advantage over him in his battles against Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton and feels comparisons may be lop-sided as a result.
Rosberg had famously won the world championship in a tense affair against Hamilton after which he unexpectedly decided to announce his retirement.
While there was plenty of animosity between Rosberg and Hamilton during the German driver’s championship-winning season, Rosberg believes that Verstappen has it all too easy compared to himself.
Rosberg pointed to the fact that everyone at Red Bull recognises Verstappen as the clear ‘number one’ driver, while he didn’t enjoy the same privilege at Mercedes, thereby making his task of beating Hamilton that much trickier.
Rosberg and Hamilton had been childhood friends, having started their karting careers at roughly the same time.
However, when Hamilton joined him at Mercedes in 2013, their relationship quickly began to sour.
Following Rosberg’s decision to retire from the sport after his world championship, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had admitted that things had got so bad between the two drivers that it would be impossible for them to continue together.
Verstappen is currently partnered by Sergio Perez at Red Bull and while their relationship is not that of closest mates, the Dutchman’s credentials as the team’s number 1 driver are largely undisputed.
“The whole team had to maintain a neutral attitude between Lewis and I,” Rosberg said.
“There was a strange atmosphere within the team because it was clear that there was rivalry within our own garage.
“As a result, there was a spirit within the team without balance – and that made it difficult to get closer together.
“I was in isolation at the most important point of my career.
“It should be easier for Verstappen – because he is seen as the number one driver by everyone.
“There is a calmer atmosphere at Red Bull.”
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