With Mercedes dominating F1 at the turn of the hybrid era in 2014, Rosberg and Hamilton went head-to-head regularly for race wins and titles.

Hamilton beat Rosberg to the titles in 2014 and 2015, however, the German fought back in 2016.

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Rosberg ultimately decided to retire at the end of 2016, citing the sacrifice he put into that season. 

“The whole team had to maintain a neutral attitude between Lewis and I,” Rosberg told La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

“There was a strange atmosphere within the team because it was clear that there was rivalry within our own garage.

“As a result, there was a spirit within the team without balance - and that made it difficult to get closer together.

“I was in isolation at the most important point of my career.”

Rosberg believes Max Verstappen is in a “easier” situation than he was against Hamilton given that Sergio Perez isn’t a threat and that the Dutchman is the clear “number one driver”.

“It should be easier for Verstappen - because he is seen as the number one driver by everyone,” he added. “There is a calmer atmosphere at Red Bull.”

Rosberg also compared Verstappen to F1 legends Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

“He has the fighting mentality just like Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna and he doesn't make mistakes anymore," he explained. “No teammate has been able to keep up with him and we are talking about Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez, who are not exactly bad drivers. 

“Verstappen has blown my mind this year. He [had] a bad start to the season and Ferrari was superior at the time.  He then went on to have a historic season with a [record-breaking] total of 15 victories, with relatively few pole positions, often winning by moving forward.

“He will always be among the best five drivers.  Certainly, he has won two world titles at the age of 25, and has already won more races than Fernando Alonso.He has enormous talent and is now complete."