Former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg has suggested his old Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton should blame himself rather than the machinery at his disposal for his poor form to open the 2022 season.
Hamilton has struggled since achieving a surprise podium in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing P10 in Saudi Arabia and fourth in Melbourne. The seven-time world champion faltered and limped home to finish 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend.
While Hamilton struggled to extract the most out of his car and was even lapped by rival Max Verstappen, his teammate George Russell expertly powered through the field to finish P4. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton over the radio, referring to his car as ‘undriveable.
Sorry for what you have needed to drive today,” said Wolff over the radio. “I know this is undriveable and not what we deserve to score as a result.”
Rosberg, who pipped Hamilton to the 2016 title before immediately retiring, believes the apology from Wolff needs to be taken less seriously due to Russell appearing to prove the car can be competitive. The German believes his former boss was simply trying to encourage Hamilton, who has endured a torrid start to the campaign.
“Toto was playing the mental game, which is very smart on his behalf,” Rosberg told Sky Sports F1 . “Mercedes are taking the blame themselves, really trying to support Lewis mentally, lifting him up and saying, ‘hey, Lewis, it’s not your doing, it’s really on us’. That’s very smart because it’s not quite the truth.
Let’s not forget Russell is in P4 with that same car, so Lewis definitely had a big role to play in that poor result this weekend. Russell still managed to get P4 out of it with a brilliant weekend, so there was more in that car.”
Hamilton currently sits seventh in the Drivers’ Championship with 28 points – 58 off leader Charles Leclerc of Ferrari. For reference, Russell is currently fourth with 49 points after entering last weekend somehow in P2 in the standings.
The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Miami Grand Prix on May 8.