Lewis Hamilton claim made by old rival Nico Rosberg ahead of new F1 season

F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract

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Lewis Hamilton’s old rival Nico Rosberg has claimed the Brit’s success is merely confirmation of his own talents. The German became one of two teammates to beat Hamilton to a world title, when he landed the Drivers’ Championship in 2016.

Rosberg ended his career shortly after that achievement and believes Hamilton’s subsequent domination of the sport highlights his feat.

“I knew how good he was,” Rosberg told Augsburger Allgemeine.

“For the outside world it is now a confirmation that he is the best of all time, even by titles.

“That I beat him in the same car gives me extra confirmation of my success.”

Hamilton ended speculation over his immediate future, by signing a new one-year extension with Mercedes.

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That gives him the opportunity to reach 10 Grand Prix wins, as well as picking up an eigth Drivers’ title.

On Hamilton’s chances of breaking Schumacher’s record of seven world titles, Rosberg added: “He has incredible talent and the best car.”

Valtteri Bottas was the man to replace Rosberg at Mercedes and he believes that with every year, the chances of him eclipsing his team-mate becomes more unlikely.

“The only one who can get a little closer is Max Verstappen,” he added. “Maybe his new team-mate Sergio Perez too, if the Red Bull car is going well.

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“Otherwise his Mercedes colleague Valtteri Bottas. But with him, the chances dwindle with every year he doesn’t make it.”

Rosberg also predicted that Sebastian Vettel could have a new lease of life after switching from Ferrari to Silverstone-based team Aston Martin.

“Sebastian needed a change,” he said. “He was in a negative spiral at Ferrari, which was not a nice experience in the end.

“I am happy that he has now found a new opportunity. At Aston Martin he will be the hero again and will be celebrated.

“With a success he can be the same again. He’s still one of the best of all time.”

With testing for the new season set to start next month, Hamilton ended his social media silence, posting for the first time since his contract was announced.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Hey guys, sorry I’ve been absent from here for a while, I’ve been focusing and preparing for the season ahead. I consider myself lucky to have had this time to reflect and prepare.

“I remain positive and excited for the season ahead but want you all to know that I’m thinking of you out there, hoping you are well.

“ I miss so many of you and can’t wait to hopefully see you again soon if not in person then online.

“But one thing is for sure I’ll be racing my heart out for you this year!”

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