Formula 1 fans should enjoy the ‘generative’ rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen according to 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.
The German retired immediately after beating former teammate Hamilton in the drivers’ championship five years ago, and while he remains the last man to deny the Briton the title, Rosberg believes Verstappen’s emergence is vital for the future of the sport.
The 23-year-old Dutchman has emerged as the most likely contender to deny 36-year-old Hamilton a record eighth world title and the rivalry came to a head at the British Grand Prix last weekend with a dramatic clash between the pair.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are engaged in a fierce battle for the championship
The rivalry intensified at the British Grand Prix, where the two leaders collided
Hamilton narrowed the gap at the top to eight points with victory as Verstappen received a DNF . had
Nico Rosberg was the last person to take the F1 crown from Hamilton in 2016
Rosberg told MailSport: “As a fan it’s such a great battle to follow because it’s a battle of the generations. It is the best of the present generation with the best of the future generation and it marks a generational change.
“It reminds me of my fight with Lewis, but it was different because our battle was internal to the team, which added an extra layer of complexity.
“Still, it’s just fascinating to watch, these guys are just pushing the boundaries of what they do.
“This is exactly what F1 needed after all these years of Lewis’ dominance, it’s the next step for the sport.”
With Verstappen leading the overall standings in the Silverstone race, tensions boiled over when Verstappen was sent into a barrier after a 180mph collision with his rival.
In the wake of Hamilton’s win, Dutchman Verstappen is now seven points ahead with 13 races left of the season, but the incident has been widely criticized across the sport.
However, Rosberg believes such an outcome is inevitable when two drivers compete at the highest level of the sport and supported Verstappen to eventually reach the pinnacle of Formula 1.
He added: “For me it was a racing incident that happens when these guys go to extremes and at some point there will be contact, but it’s a battle we can really look forward to for the rest of the game.” The season.’
“I am convinced that Verstappen is the future world champion and he has the car to do it this year. But it is impossible to predict who will win this year. It’s so close, so exciting, so good and that’s the beauty that you just can’t predict.”
Since his retirement, Rosberg has become a prolific investor and entrepreneur focusing on green technology, including flying taxis and encouraging Formula 1 to become carbon neutral by 2025.
He was also an early investor in the fast-growing Formula E electric racing series, which is being held on the streets of London this weekend.
Rosberg believes Verstappen’s rise to the top is exactly what ‘F1 needed’
Championship leader Sam Bird is hoping for success domestically, while Rosberg is delighted at the progress the sport has made since it first debuted in 2014.
He said: “I saw Formula E as a fantastic opportunity for many car manufacturers around the world to show how cool electric mobility can be and essentially I was right, there are now nine car manufacturers racing in Formula E. Every car manufacturer is looking at this and most of them have joined.
The beauty of it is the race-to-road transfer of technology that takes place in Formula E.
“If we buy electric cars next year or five years from now, many parts of these electric cars will have been developed in Formula E so that the whole world benefits and we as individuals benefit. That’s huge and that’s why I’m proud to be involved.
Formula E heads to London as Briton Sam Bird looks to extend his championship lead
Rosberg will attend the FE race as an ambassador for Heineken and their ‘greener bar concept’
‘How far can it go? F1 remains the pinnacle of motorsport and Formula E is still a long way from that. It still has a lot of room to grow, it’s still a young sport, but as they develop more superstar drivers, they will gain even more global recognition.”
Rosberg is also involved in this weekend’s race as an ambassador for Heineken and their greener bar concept, which was conceived to show what is possible by embracing sustainable technology.
“I’ve always asked Heineken if I could be more involved in their pursuit of more sustainability, as I’ve been committed to that since I retired from Formula 1, but of course it takes time to develop.
“The Red Bull F1 racing team was also involved in partnering with Heineken on the greener bar technology and it’s cool how F1 can play a role in supporting brands with their innovations to make their products or bars greener and more sustainable .
“It’s essential and that’s why I’m so optimistic that we’re going to meet our climate goals, as brands like Heineken are now embracing the need to make their business models more sustainable.”