Nico Rosberg on how Lewis Hamilton's F1 rivals can beat him in 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton still inspired by karting 'abuse' (3:33)

ESPN sat down with four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton in Turin to discuss whether he still has what it takes to race and the struggles he dealt with as a child getting into the sport. (3:33)

Nico Rosberg is one of the few who can speak with authority on how to beat Lewis Hamilton to a Formula One title and he has offered his advice to every driver hoping to do so in 2018.

Rosberg unexpectedly retired days after beating his former Mercedes teammate to a maiden championship in 2016. In his 11 seasons in the sport, Hamilton has won 62 races, four world championships and only finished behind a teammate on one other occasion -- Jenson Button also beat him in 2011.

Having spent four seasons in equal machinery, Rosberg believes taking advantage on Hamilton's rare off-days is essential to having any chance of beating him.

"The weakness Lewis has is a bit of inconsistency" Rosberg told Sky Sports, where has been named a pundit for the channel's upcoming Formula One coverage. "He has these periods when he is just not on it.

"If you are able to pounce in those periods and really make the most of it, you can keep him down for a while longer. You have to make the most of it, absolutely, and Sebastian [Vettel] did that pretty well last year.

"When Lewis has his good weekends he is almost unbeatable, he is unbelievably fast and maybe the best guy out there. The only way to beat Lewis is to be 100 percent with everything, do the perfect season. Otherwise there is no chance."

The man who replaced Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas, spent much of pre-season answering questions about how he plans to beat Hamilton after a mixed debut season at Mercedes in 2017. Despite claiming three wins, Bottas' form tailed off dramatically after the summer break just as Hamilton's improved and catapulted the Englishman to the title.

Rosberg thinks Bottas is capable of beating Hamilton to the championship this season.

"I hope that Valtteri can be even closer to [Lewis] this year, because last year he showed some really big flashes of brilliance but it just lacked in consistency.

"I think he can do it, I think he can really ramp it up even further and get very, very close. That is what we want to see, we want to see a good internal battle there."

Coverage of Formula One in the U.S.A. will return to ESPN this year and begins at Melbourne's Albert Park with the Australian Grand Prix. Full programing details below (all times Eastern Time):

Rolex Australian Grand Prix
Practice 1 - Thursday, March 22, 9:00 PM - ESPN3
Practice 2 - Friday, March 23, 1:00 AM - ESPN3
Practice 3 - Friday, March 23, 10:00 PM - ESPNEWS
Qualifying - Saturday, March 24, 2:00 AM - ESPN2
Race - Sunday, March 25, 1:00 AM - ESPN2