Lewis Hamilton is in for an uncomfortable winter after Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg gave him a wake-up call at the end of 2015, according to Paddy Lowe.
Hamilton wrapped up his third world title with victory in the United States Grand Prix at Austin but he finished runner up to Rosberg in final three races of the season.
The form guide was reversed in qualifying, too, with Hamilton outscoring Rosberg 12-1 over the first 13 races but then finishing second best to the German in the subsequent six.
Since the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton has not felt comfortable behind the wheel but he plans to spend a lot of time at the factory over the winter to rectify the problem.
Hamilton: I’ve lost half a second
“I think Lewis has been given a bit of a wake-up call in the last three races with Nico absolutely on top form,” said Mercedes technical chief Lowe at the BRDC Awards lunch in London.
“That’s given Lewis a bit of an uncomfortable winter.
“We’re fortunate to be in a position where we have had a dominant car so the least we can do is make sure we have a tremendous battle between the two drivers up front.
“I think we’ve done that and we’re going to keep doing that.
“And that means we need each guy to push the other to the very limit and that’s what we’re doing.”
Mercedes fears rivalry spilling over
“What Lewis and Nico do is absolutely tremendous,” said Lowe.
“The team produced a fantastic car and a fantastic power unit and what Lewis and Nico have done to exploit that has also been tremendous.
“There’s been a lot of talk about modern F1 being easy, that the cars are easy to drive and there is a lot of help from the team but it is tough out there.
“They do an amazing job and the results this year show an incredibly low error rate form the drivers.
“I’ve worked in the business a long time and know the greatest make mistakes.
“Those two haven’t this year and that is credit to them.”
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