David Tremayne: Nico Rosberg’s new Mercedes deal is good news for team-mate Lewis Hamilton
The 'Silver Arrows' drivers know each other’s strengths and weaknesses extremely well
formula one correspondent
Wednesday 16 July 2014
The recent British Grand Prix brought disappointment to Nico Rosberg as his first retirement of the season handed a much-needed victory to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and reduced his overall lead from 29 points to just four. However, the German has bounced back fast.
A week after he married longtime sweetheart Vivian Sibold in Monaco, it was confirmed today that he has signed a new “multi-year” contract extension with the Silver Arrows. In Formula One parlance that usually means three years, with options at the end of each.
The deal is a no-brainer for Mercedes. And it is good news for Hamilton, too. He and Rosberg have raced one another since they were kids in karting and each knows the other’s strengths and weaknesses extremely well.
Despite reports to the contrary, they work well together on a professional level despite the odd spat when tensions have risen this year, notably in Monaco. They are not close friends, but the continuity of their partnership has high value for a team which has the strongest driver pairing in F1.
“I’m very proud to drive the Formula One Silver Arrow of the modern era,” Rosberg said of his new deal. “As a German, the heritage of Mercedes-Benz is very special for me, and I am proud to be able to represent the best car brand around the world. We have an awesome team and I am confident that we have the right people in place at every level. I’m looking forward to the next years together, when we will keep pushing to win even more races – and, hopefully, championships.”
The 29-year-old from Wiesbaden joined the team when Mercedes returned to F1 in 2010 after buying out Brawn. Always a difficult driver to quantify because of team-mates such as Kazuki Nakajima and Alexander Wurz at Williams, Rosberg showed well against Michael Schumacher and overshadowed the multiple champion in the team at the end of his career. When Mercedes won, in China in 2012, it was Rosberg at the wheel.
Last year, when Hamilton replaced Schumacher, Rosberg won two races to the Briton’s one. Though this season Hamilton has five wins to Rosberg’s three, Rosberg has led the title chase almost throughout the opening nine races and has firmly established his credentials with his performances against the fastest racer in the business.
The head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff, outlined why Rosberg is such a key part of their strategy. “Nico has been part of the Silver Arrows project since day one and he has a big stake in the development of the team since 2010,” Wolff said. “His speed, commitment and focus have all helped to give clear direction and to drive the team forward.”
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