Stewart hoping Rosberg can oust Hamilton

Sir Jackie Stewart has expressed his hope that Nico Rosberg can up his game and beat his Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, to the 2016 World Championship.

Rosberg has had to watch on as Hamilton secured the 2014 and 2015 Championships, with the German finishing second on both occasions.

After sitting in Hamilton's shadow for much of the recently-completed campaign, Rosberg ended the season in fine fashion, winning the last three races of the year from pole position.

Rosberg is hoping to carry that positive momentum into 2016, and Stewart, who like Hamilton is a three-time World Champion, believes that Rosberg has what it takes to win the title – if he can make the step up in crunch moments.

"It would be good if he won the title. That would be very good," said Stewart.

He added: "There is nothing to stop Rosberg winning. He is quick. We have seen him have so many pole positions. He is smoother (than Hamilton).

"Lewis is quite aggressive so therefore he has won more races because of that aggression, but sometimes that can bite you also."

The Scot continued: "He is good, and there is no question about it. The trouble is you have to be very good and he has got to just step up that little bit extra."

There have been suggestions that the role reversal at Mercedes in the closing stages of the season has been as a result of Hamilton relaxing somewhat after he won the Championship, but while team boss Toto Wolff does not feel this is the case, he admitted it is possible that Hamilton has subconsciously taken his foot off the gas.

"No, because I don't think that this would have been something that was done consciously," Wolff said when asked if he had noticed a drop in intensity.

"He is still pushing very hard – he still has the same talent and puts the same effort into his races. But yes, it could play a role."

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