Last season the Formula One world witnessed one of the greatest rivalries between two team mates and friends in Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, as the Mercedes pair fought it out until the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi for the World Championship.
Also read: Formula One 2017 complete schedule
Despite Hamilton finishing first and Rosberg second in the final race of the season, the German had picked up enough points to become World Champion. This was the first time he managed to beat his old karting pal over the course of a season.
While everything seemed to be going well for Nico Rosberg on the Formula One front during the course of last season, he recently revealed in his first interview, since announcing his shock retirement, what he had to go through and what he had to sacrifice in order to become the Formula One World Champion.
When Nico Rosberg talks about sacrifice here he is really talking about how he took his game to another level, a level he could possibly never repeat again after he gave it his all last season. One of the first examples he gave was how he stopped cycling so that he could lose one kg and how that helped him in Suzuka.
"I stopped cycling in the summer to lose one kilo. The next race I was on pole in Suzuka by one hundredth of a second. One kilo is worth three hundredths per lap. So I was on pole thanks to losing my leg muscles. It got me the win. Those were the small details I went into" The Daily Mail quoted Rosberg as saying.
One of the biggest sacrifices Rosberg had to make last season was giving up on spending time with his one-and-a-half year old daughter. He also spoke about how he battled jet-lag by moving to a different time zone and how his wife Vivian did absolutely everything to keep Rosberg going and achieve his dream.
"It meant I could be asleep into the afternoon and living at night. It was horrible. And Alaia knew Daddy couldn't be disturbed. She was so impregnated with the concept that whenever she came to the bedroom she had her finger over her mouth and said, 'sush.' Now I am doing those tough moments. It creates a bonding. She gives the love back to you. It's amazing that she knows when you are suffering with her."
"Vivian did absolutely everything. If our daughter needed something, Vivian would be there. Never, ever, did I do a tough moment with my daughter. I was working on beating jet-lag by moving to the time zone — I was going in one-and-a-half-hour stages per day" Rosberg said.
Remaining on a strict diet was another challenging feat for the World Champion. He had to give up all sugary substances and also ketchup and said that that change affected him so much that his hands shook continuously for 10 days until his body adjusted to his new diet.
Meditation played a major role in his success last season. The German would spend 20 minutes every morning and evening meditating and said that it helped him calm his mind thus allowing the negative thoughts to leave his body.
"I would spend 20 minutes each morning and evening meditating. I don't like that word; actually, it's about concentration and awareness practice. I would sit down and just think of my thoughts, learning to relax my mind. After 20 times, your mind calms. When the fear crept in that I would lose the championship, you connect with the thought and have a discussion with it. Then the negative thought loses its strength" Rosberg said.
Another key area that Rosberg worked on was his aggression with his car. According to Rosberg, Hamilton is a natural with the car and he found it hard to go wheel-to-wheel against him and he watched a lot of Hamilton's videos trying to analyse him and made improvements to his driving accordingly.
"That's right. The anger is bigger if that person you know so well does something that crosses the line. Lewis is very good at going to the edge without going outside the grey area, thanks to his skills in the car. He is smart, very, very smart. I found it harder to go wheel-to-wheel. For him, it comes naturally."
"For me it is more rational. I have to work at standing my ground. I got more aggressive because too often in the past he had walked all over me. I had to watch the videos and make improvements."
Now that he has retired, Nico Rosberg said that he is happy his Formula One story has ended on a happy note and that he is following his heart now. He is really excited about what the future holds for him and especially the freedom that he has now. He continued by saying that his main aim now is to spend time with his family, something which he could not do in the past.
"I can tell you this. My Formula One career book is closed with the most awesome ending I could have imagined. And I love books that end happily. I am turning my life upside down, so it will be full of challenges. The underlying belief, however, is that it felt totally right. I am following my heart. Now I am excited because of all the freedom I have."
"Now I look at my calendar for March and it's totally white, blank from start to finish. I can decide to explore whatever I want to. It's about spending more time with my family, which last year was a serious shortcoming."