Rosberg: Schumacher's mind games helped me beat Hamilton

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2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg has revealed how "Mr Mind Games' Michael Schumacher helped him beat Lewis Hamilton.


The German was speaking with Daniel Ricciardo in an episode of his 'Beyond Victory' podcast when the topic of past teammates would be brought up.

That led Rosberg to recall one amusing story from the Monaco Grand Prix which explained just how far Schumacher would go to get into Nico's head.

"One Monaco qualifying, there’s only one toilet in the garage and so he’s in the toilet and I go down and it’s 10 minutes before and I know that I have my two-minute session now for the last pee then jump in the car and go qualifying," he explained.

“So I knock on the door because it’s always locked, ‘Nico here, please let me in’ because usually, it’s the mechanics who will then know at this moment I have to be the priority.

"No answer, nothing. So I’m like knocking, knocking – no answer but I can hear that someone’s in there.

“Here was Michael, in the toilet, leaning against the wall looking at his watch and he knew as long as he made it out with three minutes to go, he could just about jump in the car, put the seat belts on and go before losing actual time and ruining the whole team strategy of qualifying.

“I’m outside in full panic mode because I can’t go in qualifying with a full bladder, it absolutely sucks like anything. 

There’s no options for me. I went for the oil bucket option in the corner. There was no option. Mechanics working and running around and I’m just there…

“I managed to do what I needed to do but the panic had such an impact on my qualifying. While I’m with my oil bucket, the door opens, Michael chills out, walks out and as soon as he leaves from the corner he starts walking faster because he knows it’s like two seconds to go until qualifying.

“These games all day long.”

Rosberg claimed that was part of the "warrior mentality" which the seven-time champion had and described it as a 'big, big learning curve'.

"This guy for three years: Mr Mind Games," he added. "He doesn’t even have to think about it, it just comes naturally to him. It’s just the way he is."

The 33-year-old admits, however, it was an experience which came in very useful when trying to overcome Lewis Hamilton during his championship-winning year, even if it made him nervy in the process.

"With me, I’m the opposite of that and I had to learn it," he said.

“Especially with Lewis in the team because you have to stand up and think about those things and fight against those things otherwise there’s no chance.

“I really had to change quite a lot and that was tough. I always had to think about it, it would never come naturally.

“I always thought, ‘OK, I have to do this now even though it’s discomforting because I know it’s going to give him some self-doubt.’ That’s part of the game but for me, it’s really not natural.”