Nico Rosberg: Lewis Hamilton and I start from zero with new car

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Nico Rosberg says any advantage last year's Mercedes gave him over team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the end of the season has been cancelled out by the new W07 Hybrid.

Following Mercedes slump in form at the Singapore Grand Prix the team made set-up changes that coincided with a string of six consecutive pole positions for Rosberg. Once Hamilton had secured his title at the U.S. Grand Prix, Rosberg also took a hat-trick of wins to finish the season.

One of the big questions over the winter is whether the car characteristics at the end of 2015 would carry over to the 2016 car and give Rosberg an advantage, but the German insists driving the new W07 Hybrid in testing has been like flicking a reset switch.

"It's a big step, the new car," he said. "The tyres are slightly different as well, everything, so we all start from zero.

"Of course what I have is the positive memories from the end of last year, a positive winter testing as well so it's better to have that than not have it going in to the first race. So I have a good feeling, but still everybody starts from zero."

Rosberg has been beaten by Hamilton for three years running since they became Mercedes team-mates in 2013. He admits Hamilton has done a better job, but says that only encourages him to work harder.

"I wasn't permanently frustrated, Lewis just drove better, but I'm still enjoying it. Going in to this season, in my life I've always liked to compete against people who have beaten me recently. Those who have just been better than me in the recent past, I like to try and come back and beat them because that gives me even more pleasure. So that is what I am looking forward to this year.

"It is a great challenge, Lewis is driving at an awesome level. We have a great car so I'm sure there will be a lot of success this season and I'm looking forward to winning many races hopefully and we'll see how it goes."

One change for 2016 that Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes could intensify the rivalry between his drivers is the clampdown on team radio messages. But Rosberg is looking forward to the change.

"It's challenging but I like it because it's more down to yourself out there. More and more and more you just figure your own way out out on track. I think that's good, it's just more pure and that's good for the racing."