I take my hat off to Hamilton, says old foe Rosberg

By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg hailed Lewis Hamilton's 92nd Formula 1 record win and athletic longevity as a great achievement on Tuesday, but said the way the Briton used his platform to raise awareness of global issues too sharpen, be just as impressive.
The 35-year-olds were teammates and strong rivals at Mercedes from 2013 until the German won the title in 2016 and immediately retired.
Rosberg was also team-mate of Michael Schumacher, whose record Hamilton broke in Portugal last Sunday, at Mercedes from 2010-12 after the big Ferrari made a comeback.
"I have great respect for what he has achieved," Rosberg told Reuters after the start of the Extreme E off-road electric series, which begins next year when both men join the teams.
"One thing is to be where he is, just a phenomenal driver, but then stay there and stay at that high level year after year and be the guy you beat every year and always still dominated, that's just the way it is. " hard.
"It will surely be one of the greatest sporting achievements in general, not just in Formula 1, in all sports. I can just take my hat off."
Rosberg said he was also "super proud" of beating someone destined to become the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time.
The German added that it was impossible to choose between Schumacher and Hamilton in terms of size and he would put them on an equal footing.
"At the same time, I think it's really cool the way Lewis is using his platform and awareness to do good in the world. He's really excited to think about the future ... I have great respect for that too," he added.
"With all this craziness about becoming the best ever in Formula One, he still has the ability to think about the bigger picture and I may respect that even more."
Violent rivers
Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula 1, campaigns for racial justice and wears a Black Lives Matter t-shirt when he kneels before the race.
Last Sunday he wore a t-shirt to protest police violence in Nigeria during a television interview ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
As a vegan, he spoke out in favor of animal welfare, advocated a more sustainable sport and set up a commission to make motorsport more diverse.
Extreme E, a series designed to highlight the effects of climate change by racing in extreme environments, will be Hamilton's first company as a team owner.
Rosberg said while neither man would drive, they would still be fierce rivals but share a common purpose.
"I want to be in sustainable racing. I want to be in motorsport, where the platform is used to drive positive change," said the co-founder of the annual Greentech Festival in Berlin.
"For me, this is the most important and most important element that we not only entertain, but also drive change. We use the platform to innovate technologies and, for example, to raise awareness of climate change.
"It's great to see Lewis following in my footsteps on the path to sustainability that I have been doing since I retired four years ago," added the German.
Rosberg said he and Hamilton, his teammate in karting when they were 13, were just as determined to win.
"That's the beauty of it. Our competitiveness here and our rivalry are actually the catalyst for positive change in this championship," he said.
"We hope that through the fascinating races and challenges and rivalries we can raise awareness even more and achieve even more impact."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Clare Fallon)

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