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Rosberg prepared for Hamilton challenge

ESPN Staff
October 4, 2012 « Button still eyeing Japan victory despite grid penalty | Grosjean will help Raikkonen »
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were team-mates in karts in their early teens © Sutton Images
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Nico Rosberg says he is prepared for the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as a team-mate next season.

Hamilton will join Mercedes in 2013, replacing Michael Schumacher who is retiring for a second time. While Rosberg acknowledges the strengths of Hamilton he says he is used to a high level of team-mate having spent the last three years competing against Schumacher and describes the change as "exciting".

"At the moment my team-mate is a seven-time world champion so the talent I'm up against is very high!" Rosberg said. "So I think it's going to be a similarly difficult challenge, very interesting and for me very exciting also. It's been a good challenge over the last three years with Michael and I'm looking forward to the challenge with Lewis. I remember racing him in go-karts so I know it's tough up against him for sure. He's very, very quick, one of the best out there at the moment, but it'll be good and it's great that he's joining the team."

Rosberg revealed that he had spoken to Hamilton before the move was agreed and he feels confident Mercedes will be more competitive next season.

"I didn't necessarily talk him in to it, I tried to stay quite objective. I mentioned the positives, yes, and he asked a few things and I gave him honest answers, and my answers are all positive because I am positive of the team; I just extended my contract myself because I do believe in this team fully. We had another little bit of a setback in the summer unfortunately, things were really going to plan in the beginning of the season - winning in China, second in Monaco was going to plan - and then we had a bit more difficult time again which we've learned from, we're going to push through and it's all going to help us next year."

With Hamilton having spent his entire career so far with McLaren, Rosberg said a change can help him improve as more than just a driver.

"I know from my change it was a very good thing for me to get in to a new environment. It opened my eyes a bit again because you get in to a certain routine and habit and a change is good. So for me personally it was a good thing to change team for my development; as a driver, as a person, everything."