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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Pre Race GP Indian

Don't bet against Rosberg just yet
Vinayak Pande, Hindustan Times
Greater Noida, October 26, 2012
First Published: 01:06 IST(26/10/2012)
Last Updated: 17:11 IST(27/10/2012)
Nico Rosberg (right) welcomes another high profile teammate at Mercedes next year in former karting and Formula 3 rival Lewis Hamilton. Getty Images

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher both started their careers with the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team in 2010 and since then Rosberg has scored 324 points to Schumacher's 191.

Rosberg has also recorded five podium finishes including a win from pole position while Schumacher has just one podium finish to his name and pole position he had to concede due to a five-place grid penalty.

And yet it's the 27-year-old German who you'll find silently twiddling his thumbs during press conferences as Schumacher and Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn constantly have questions thrown to them.

With Lewis Hamilton due to replace Schumacher in 2013, how does the seemingly forgotten man of Mercedes feel about the upheaval that surrounds him?

"I'm very happy that I've beaten him (Schumacher) three years," Rosberg told HT. "And he was driving at a very high level.

I could see why he was a seven-time world champion because the guy does a very good job at everything and not just driving.

"Now with Lewis it will be another good experience as we raced in go-karts and Formula 3 Euroseries together and have remained good friends," said Rosberg.

"If you're not teammates it's difficult to know the specifics of someone else's driving styles but I'm confident I'll do a good job against Lewis as well."

The confidence seems genuine from a driver who placed higher than Hamilton in the 2004 F3 Euroseries standings (a mere two points difference) and then won the inaugural GP2 Series title the following year before becoming the youngest driver in F1 to record the fastest lap of a race.

He has a backer in his abilities in former Jordan and Stewart designer Gary Anderson who briefly worked with Schumacher at the beginning of his career.

"I think if next year's Mercedes had been a step up to this year's, Nico would have taken it to another level and Michael would have remained where he is," said Anderson.

"At the moment Michael can put a 'bandage' on the car and drive it well due to his experience but when things got good in China, Nico got pole position, won the race and Michael couldn't touch him."

Whether that's purely down to a decline in Schumacher's driving ability or Rosberg's true potential will probably be revealed when the man considered by some to be the most naturally talented F1 driver on Friday (Hamilton) straps himself behind the wheel of a silver car.

Don't bet against Rosberg just yet.


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