Nico Rosberg insists he is not worried about playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton. The pair, who have known each other and even raced as teammates since their boyhood karting days, will each be driving one of Mercedes' F1 cars in 2013.
German Rosberg has managed to dominate Michael Schumacher since the seven time world champion's 2010 comeback, but the 27-year-old might be forgiven for feeling more nervous about the similarly-aged Hamilton's arrival.
But when asked if he is worried he will be Hamilton's 'number 2', Rosberg insisted: "Absolutely not. I know the situation. Although Lewis will be a challenge and I gladly accept it. He is one of the best drivers of the moment, but I do believe that I can measure up," the 2012 shanghai winner told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Since the Hamilton announcement, Mercedes chiefs Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug have insisted that the high-profile 2008 world champion will not be Mercedes' 'number 1'. "Yes, that's good. And it's in my contract that I always have the same opportunities as my teammate, no matter who it is," Rosberg answered.
But at McLaren in 2007, Hamilton clashed spectacularly with his short-term teammate Fernando Alonso. Is Rosberg worried that might happen again, this time at Mercedes? "I think we're both smart enough to avoid that," he smiled.
Finally, Rosberg said he does not 'feel sorry' for Michael Schumacher, who has been pushed out. "No," the German laughed. "He was not sure whether he wanted to continue or not, but Mercedes had to make a choice -- and anyway Michael has said himself that he is not unhappy." (GMM)