Speaking to the Last On The Brakes MotoGP™ Podcast, 2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg spoke in length about a wide range of topics – including MotoE™, Energica and electric motorcycles.
And of the topics that Rosberg touched on was what it was like being teammates with an all-time great: Michael Schumacher, with Rosberg then sharing a Mercedes garage with Lewis Hamilton too.
“I hadn’t even won a race when Michael Schumacher came into the team. So, zero race wins, I was nobody, and Michael Schumacher was the greatest of all time,” commented Rosberg. “So as you can imagine there was a ‘little bit’ is a misbalance there. And so he also commanded the total support and respect of his team and I still had to build it. We had a strategy meeting before the race and the strategist of that day addressed Michael for his strategy and then addressed Michael again… for my strategy! Even though I was sitting there.
“I’m exaggerating of course, I did get the occasional glance but largely the attention was addressed towards Michael even with my part. And that was painful for me. Like, c’mon, what’s going on here? I’m the guy who was further up the grid and I didn’t get the necessary attention here and somehow it seems like a little bit lack of respect to me. And that was a little bit of a struggle that I had to face. So what I did there in that sense is I mentioned my feelings to this person, I told them that I really deserve to have the same amount of attention as my teammate and can we please do that in future.
“So I really showed him that it was hurting me and I didn’t like it, so I showed my vulnerability in the end. And that’s the point, show your vulnerability and communicate. There’s a lot of power in that and even though it seems like a weakness in the first moment, long term it’s a big strength. And then the next meeting, boom, I think I got more attention than Michael on that occasion. Because the person really took it on board and I’m thankful for that. They took it on board and adjusted accordingly. So that’s an example of the uphill struggle I faced racing together with Schumacher and then later, Hamilton.
“But I’ve always been a fighter so I always take on such challenges. In those challenges is where you learn most and setbacks is where you learn most, cause that’s where you really can rise above and gain extra motivation that normally you wouldn’t have. And it’s thanks to those two guys that I became World Champion. I wouldn’t be otherwise! They pushed me to new levels, new boundaries, and I found motivation like mad to beat those guys. So that’s powerful.”
You can listen to the brilliant chat with Rosberg via the links at the top of the article, or watch it – and many other episodes – on YouTube if that’s what you prefer!