Lewis Hamilton ‘seriously hurt’ him, Nico Rosberg reveals

The rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes during the hybrid era of Formula One is one that will be remembered for generations. In the midst of this intense competition, the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix, famously known as the ‘Duel in the Desert’, proved to be a pivotal moment.

Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion, recently revealed the profound impact this race had on him, as he experienced emotions ranging from anger to hurt.

Lewis Hamilton - Nico Rosberg - 2014 Abu Dhabi



The 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix: Duel in the desert

The 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix marked the third race of Formula One’s new hybrid era, and Mercedes had demonstrated its dominance. With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg as team-mates, fans were treated to thrilling on-track battles, and Bahrain was no exception.

It was seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton who emerged victorious in this high-stakes duel. The race saw an extraordinary battle between the two Mercedes drivers, with Rosberg initially describing it as the “most fun” he’d ever had in F1. However, Rosberg recently admitted that this was far from the truth.


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The hidden emotions

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Nico Rosberg opened up about his true feelings during and after the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix. He confessed that, despite his initial public statements, he was in fact “seriously angry and seriously hurt” after finishing second to Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg explained the dynamics of racing drivers needing to maintain a certain image and sometimes hiding their true feelings. He had to present himself to the public as a sportsman who enjoyed the intense competition, even if the reality was quite the opposite.

“I remember myself in Bahrain,” Rosberg told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“I said after the race ‘wow, that was the most fun I’ve ever had in a racing car.’ But actually the truth was that was the most far from the truth possible.

“Because the truth was I was seriously angry and seriously hurt from finishing second to Lewis and it was zero fun.

“As race drivers, we always have to be a bit Hollywood. You can’t always say the truth obviously because it’s going to backfire otherwise.”


This revelation sheds light on the immense pressure and emotional turmoil drivers like Rosberg experience in their quest for victory and championship glory. The world of F1, with its competitive spirit and scrutiny, often demands a degree of theatricality from its drivers that can obscure their true emotions.


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Reflections on Charles Leclerc’s response

Nico Rosberg’s candid revelation came amid discussion of Charles Leclerc’s recent reaction to finishing behind his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz in the Italian Grand Prix. Leclerc’s apparent delight at Sainz’s success prompted Rosberg to question the authenticity of the reaction.

Rosberg said: “I was watching Charles, he just had got beaten by his teammate who also ran him off the track once. Charles is sitting there and saying ‘yeah, that was super fun. Happy days, having a beer with Carlos.’

“And I was like ‘Is this now genuine? Or is he pulling a Nico you know?’ And saying the complete opposite of what he’s feeling…”


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While Rosberg initially considered the possibility that Leclerc was masking his true feelings, he ultimately concluded that Leclerc’s reaction appeared to be “quite genuine”. This assessment led Rosberg to remark that Leclerc might be “a bit too nice”.

“But I think it was pretty genuine. In which case I was thinking [it seems he is] a little bit too nice guy somehow.

“Because, [he lost out] already on the strategy. He lost out the day before by allowing the team to give Carlos the slipstream twice in the end of qualifying rather than it being split.

“It should have been one person first run the other person the second run and yet he allowed Carlos to have double slipstream in the qualifying already.

“So I’m not sure. Maybe he’s just a super nice guy but that would be a little bit too nice.”


Rosberg’s perspective highlights the complexities of professional motorsport, where the line between genuine emotion and public image can be blurred. It also underlines the unique mental and emotional challenges faced by F1 drivers as they navigate the high-pressure world of elite racing.


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Bottom line

The ‘duel in the desert’ of the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix is a poignant reminder of the emotional rollercoaster experienced by Formula One drivers. Nico Rosberg’s revelation of his true feelings during the race offers a glimpse into the inner turmoil that can accompany intense competition at the highest level of motorsport.

As fans continue to debate the legacy of drivers like Rosberg and Hamilton, it’s important to remember that under the helmet and behind the wheel, these athletes are dealing with the very human experiences of triumph, disappointment and the delicate balance between projecting a professional image and expressing genuine emotion.

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