Nico Rosberg has now urged George Russell to ‘make it difficult’ for Mercedes as he is in a ‘very difficult situation’ fighting with Lewis Hamilton to be the Silver Arrows’ No1.
Rosberg knows the extremes it takes to beat Hamilton in the same team after, finally, getting the better of the Briton in 2016. The 38-year-old dedicated everything to winning that year’s title after falling short in 2014 and 2015. But he retired immediately after given the intensity.
Titles might not have been on the line for Mercedes this season after another disappointing year for the Brackley outfit. But Russell and Hamilton are locked in a fierce inter-team tussle to lead the Silver Arrows’ revival. And inevitably, the drivers crashed at the Qatar Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Rosberg’s Qatar GP crash was inevitable amid Mercedes’ internal fight
Hamilton took full responsibility for the collision having turned across Russell into Turn 1 on the opening lap. The 38-year-old left his compatriot with no room to go with the 25-year-old sandwiched with Max Verstappen. It was an honest try at an overtake with Hamilton ahead.
But while there was no malice in the incident, it was inevitable after a clutch of near misses this season. Even during the previous round, Hamilton and Russell nearly collided when the seven-time Formula 1 drivers’ champion drove his Mercedes partner off the road at Suzuka.
Rosberg now urges Russell to ‘make it difficult’ for the Silver Arrows
Russell had a run on Hamilton into Spoon on Lap 16 of the Japanese GP as they fought over P5. But the Stevenage-born star defended the inside line and a slight wobble forced him off the racing line. Thus, Russell was left with nowhere to go except the run-off to avoid a crash.
Rosberg feels Hamilton and Russell’s near-miss at the Japanese GP was ‘well over the limit’. But Russell cannot yield in his quest if he wants to be Mercedes’ lead driver. Otherwise, the King’s Lynn native opens a door for the team to take an easy choice when fighting Hamilton.
“Things have been heating up there because also in Suzuka, it was well over the limit on one occasion when they both took each other off the track,” Rosberg has told Sky Sports F1. “It’s a very difficult situation for George, as well.
“Unfortunately, you can’t just be the nice guy in that situation – you have to also internally keep the pressure on. You have to make it difficult for the team, unfortunately.
“It sucks but otherwise the team will always just take the easiest route. So, it’s very uncomfortable because George needs to be pushing, which he does on the radio. You hear him saying things like ‘again’ and things like that. So, he’s really trying to hold against it.”