Nico Rosberg says the key to his 2016 Formula 1 world title charge was taking advantage of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s ‘ups and downs’ during a campaign.

The reigning F1 world champion joined Sky Sports F1 as a guest pundit for the Japanese Grand Prix and was quizzed on Hamilton’s strengths and weaknesses and how he exploited any opportunities to win the 2016 title.

While accepting he was able to take full advantage when Hamilton was hit but mechanical heartache and a dip in form last season, Rosberg says maximising his own performance in those races became vital to his title tilt.

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“His natural speed is phenomenal but his weakness is maybe he has a little bit of ups and downs through a season,” Rosberg said on Sky Sports F1. “For anyone to beat Lewis you have to take advantage of the opportunities you get.

“That is what I was trying to do last year and it went well and that is what Sebastian Vettel has to be doing this year.”

After struggling with mechanical issues and form after the summer break in the 2016 campaign, Hamilton failed to win a race in five attempts which Rosberg made the most of with four wins out of five in the same period. That run enabled the German driver to finish second directly behind his team-mate in the final four races of the year to take the title by five points in Abu Dhabi.

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Ha just think if his engine not blown up in Malaysia you would not have been champion 

TOTOs interview says it all, cheatburg more like, Merc gave him more engine settings than Hammy, and then ordered Mechanics to be swooped, and even last race when Constructors won ordering Lewis to speed up, if his engine hadn't blown up cheatburg wouldn't of won....read TOTOs interview