Nico Rosberg on the psychological games of Michael SchumacherMay 29, 2019
In his podcast, former Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg spoke about the beginning of his career at Mercedes, when Michael Schumacher was his partner in the 2010-2012 season.
Nico Rosberg: “Speaking with Michael, I learned a lot. Much that did not know before. Michael had a warrior mentality, he lived it every day, sometimes taking it to the extreme, he tried to penetrate my thoughts, to deprive me of self-confidence.
He behaved as if I did not exist. At the briefings, he never wondered what was done on my car, never asked: “Nico, what do you think.” Never in three years. I for him as if did not exist. Michael was just like that. He lived and breathed it. For me, this behavior was unnatural – I was built differently, so I was able to learn a lot.
It came in handy later when Lewis was my partner – otherwise I would have no chance in fighting him. I had to step over a lot in myself. I said to myself: “Do it now, even if it is unpleasant for you, but it will make him doubt himself.” This is part of the game, albeit completely unnatural for me.
Schumacher was a professional psychological games. He didn’t even need to think about it – it all happened by itself.
For example, once in Monaco. In our boxes there was only one toilet. I went downstairs – a couple of minutes to pee, then climb into the cockpit – and the qualification begins.
The door to the toilet is locked. I am knocking: “Open, this is Niko, let me in,” the mechanics know that at such moments riders have a priority. No sound. I keep on knocking, no answer, but I hear that there is someone inside.
Michael was there. He stood in the toilet, leaning against the wall and looking at his watch. He knew that he had to go three minutes before qualifying – that was enough to get into the cockpit, buckle up and go to the track. He rested there, and I rushed around outside in a panic.
I had no choice. I found some kind of paint bucket – I can’t qualify with a full bladder. And at this moment Michael came out, and just turning the corner he added a step – the qualification was almost started. ”
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