How Rosberg 'messed with Lewis's head'
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How Rosberg 'messed with Lewis's head'

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A little under 12 months ago Nico Rosberg won the world championship and then abruptly announced his departure from the sport before he'd even collected his trophy. He's been somewhat elusive ever since, but now, speaking exclusively to F1 Racing, Rosberg explains how he "messed with Lewis's head", why he's been largely absent from the Formula 1 scene - and what’s coming next... Words Stuart Codling Portraits Malcolm Griffiths

With more than a hint of reverence, Nico Rosberg reaches out to touch his championship-winning W07 Hybrid affectionately on the nose, then turns to regard the grand sweep that is the cavernous concrete inner sanctum of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Here, like pinned butterflies in a natural-history exhibit, but on a grander scale, the racing cars attached to the banked wall bear silent testament to an evolutionary line - in this case, one that stretches from chain-driven pre-war leviathans such as the 1909 Blitzen Benz to the latest hybrid Formula 1 machinery.

A large red crane stands ready to hoist Nico's title-winner onto its final resting place - but not before its operators have posed for a selfie with both him and it. He obliges with the same easy charm that defused many a sticky moment during his driving career, as last year when he led a potentially hostile Monza crowd in an impromptu sing-along - in Italian - having led a Mercedes one-two that pegged their beloved Ferraris into third and fourth places.

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