Nico Rosberg described Lewis Hamilton’s defence against Max Verstappen “soft” after he relinquished the lead of the French Grand Prix on the penultimate lap of the race.
Hamilton took the lead after Verstappen made a second stop for fresh tyres, with the Mercedes driver opting to stay out in the hope of making the finish on his older, worn tyres.
However Verstappen’s superior pace on fresh tyres saw him quickly catch up to Hamilton on lap 52 of 53. The Dutchman was quickly passed his title rival to take the victory and extend his points lead.
Hamilton’s former Formula 1 team-mate, Rosberg, was surprised by how easy the seven-time champion made it for Verstappen.
“Unusual from Lewis. Close the damn door! No?” Rosberg said after the race when reviewing the move.
“[He] usually looks like the best one to one racers and I’m surprised that he didn’t at least try and brake late and try and keep the outside, so a bit soft there from Lewis.”
Rosberg also branded Valtteri Bottas “rubbish” as he too defended poorly against Verstappen.
Overall Rosberg believes Red Bull’s superior form is forcing Mercedes into making costly mistakes.
“I mean it’s such a boost and they’re really becoming the dominant force more and more,” he added. “It’s putting so much pressure on Mercedes and we’re seeing that Mercedes is making mistake after mistake. So they need to be careful, and they need to keep it together from now on to have a chance.”