Nico Rosberg says he is a "huge fan" of Max Verstappen but has also labelled the Dutchman as the "most annoying" rival from his F1 career.
The former world champion and Sky F1 pundit had plenty of run-ins with Verstappen, who has built a reputation as one of the sport's fastest and most combative racers.
Answering questions from fans on the Sky F1 Vodcast, Rosberg promptly selected Verstappen as the most annoying driver he has raced against – citing battles during the climax to his title-winning 2016 season.
"I'm a huge fan of his, he's an amazing driver and so good for F1, so much fun to watch," said Rosberg.
"But my god, having him around in the races! The risk of a DNF for myself, it increases like ten-fold.
"I can see Max annoying Mercedes" 🏎️@nico_rosberg believes a shortened F1 season could play in to the hands of Max Verstappen becoming world champion
More: https://t.co/5A8MhQGiaH pic.twitter.com/wjHpHsEp9A
"On my way to the championship, I had him around me every race in the last four races. He passed me I think in three of those four races, in a tussle."
Verstappen moved from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in 2016, and Rosberg had to pass the youngster in the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP to win the championship.
This was Nico Rosberg’s last overtake in Formula 1.
Under pressure. Against Max Verstappen. Needed it to win the title.
Rosberg will always be under appreciated. pic.twitter.com/AYhjnLmj8Y
Since Rosberg's retirement, Verstappen has won seven more races and was a favourite for the 2020 title before the season's delay.
This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.
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