Nico Rosberg says suggestions that Lewis Hamilton is in meltdown are "complete rubbish".
Following a tough weekend on the track in Japan and a controversial one off it, Fleet Street claimed Hamilton was fragile, in meltdown, and that he was cracking under pressure from his Mercedes teammate.
But Rosberg, who is now 33 points clear in the standings with just four races remaining, was quick to deny any accusations of Hamilton not being fully focused and is expecting a great battle as he aims for his maiden world championship.
It’s complete rubbish, Rosberg told Sky Sports News. He’s on it like ever before, fully motivated and does massive work hours also. I’ve seldom seen that from him in the last few years, such a large amount.
For sure it’s going to be a great battle with him, every race until the end of the championship.
The German was speaking from Mercedes’ UK headquarters in Brackley as the team celebrated a third straight constructors’ title, being joined by Hamilton, Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda and Paddy Lowe.
Mercedes boss Wolff said Hamilton wouldn’t be taking much notice of the media coverage, and was backing the world champion to bounce back at the US Grand Prix.
It’s clear that the media needs to produce headlines, he explained. It’s going both directions, you’re being built up and being dropped. Lewis had a couple of bad weekends, but if he recovers in Austin he will be the hero again.
He’s one of Britain’s greatest heroes. He’s won world titles in Formula One and this is not easy.
Rosberg joined Mercedes in 2010 and admitted he was proud to have been part of the project since day one, while Wolff added that he would be a deserving world champion.
He’s won nine Grands Prix this year and he has always been very closely matched with Lewis in the last couple of years, Wolff said.
I remember in 2014 when we let him down in Singapore and Abu Dhabi – this year Lewis has been the more unlucky one. Both of them would deserve to win the world championship.
(c) Sky News 2016: Lewis in meltdown? Rubbish, insists Nico