Hamilton 'driving at his best' despite Mercedes struggles - Rosberg

By Sports Desk June 21, 2022

Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton is "driving at his best" this season despite Mercedes' woes as the team continues to battle with the development of the W13 car.

Mercedes' campaign has been plagued with bouncing issues following the introduction of new restrictions for the 2022 season, with the German team among many on the grid to suffer with 'porpoising'.

A new FIA directive was issued ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, allowing the use of a second floor, following complaints from a number of drivers – although the actions have led to backlash from Red Bull chief Christian Horner.

Mercedes did show significant signs of progress in Montreal and had a consistent race, whereas Ferrari had Charles Leclerc starting from the back for an engine penalty and Red Bull lost Sergio Perez with a technical problem.

Hamilton came third for his second podium finish of the season and it marked the first time since the opening race in Bahrain where he has finished above team-mate George Russell, who came fourth.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton has faced scrutiny this season amid the team's struggles but his former team-mate and title rival Rosberg insists that he has been at the top of his game over the past few months.

"Lewis is driving at his best. He has just had an unbelievably unlucky season with all these different things going against him," he told Sky Sports.

"This was a normal weekend and he delivered in the usual awesome way.

"That driver pairing is so strong, incredible, but, make no mistake, Lewis hates passionately to ever come second to a team-mate, so he will be ultra-motivated and pushing hard internally."

Mercedes' car showed signs of promise in Canada but Rosberg has warned them not to get ahead of themselves, as they remain off the pace of their rivals heading into the British Grand Prix on July 3.

"The car in the race was really decent. I thought it was so awesome how George right after the start made headway, passing one car after another down into the hairpin," he added.

"I think they are making progress but there is still some way to go to Ferrari and Red Bull. They can't win at Silverstone, they are still too far away."

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    The pair came together during the opening lap of the race as Magnussen attempted to squeeze through a tight gap on the inside of Perez on the exit of Turn One.

    The Red Bull was destroyed during the incident, while the Dane’s Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg also got caught in the chaos.

    All three drivers were unharmed, though were ultimately forced out of the race when it restarted.

    Perez was adamant following the race that the blame should be placed firmly on Magnussen’s shoulders.

    He said: "It was an immense crash, one I'm disappointed about. I think it was totally unnecessary at that point of the race and there was no need for that.

    "At some point, you have two options: Lift or have a contact, and I think it was too unnecessary with the speeds we were doing, and it was a massive contact.

    "It was important to take things a little bit calmer."

    The incident compounded a disappointing weekend for both teams, in particularly Haas after both drivers were disqualified from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid due to a technical infringement.

    However, Magnussen stood by his belief he had every right to go for the gap and was forced into the barrier by the Mexican.

    "From my point of view, I had a good part of my front on Perez's rear and when he went to the wall I got pushed to the wall and made contact with him," Magnussen said.

    "I trusted he was going to leave space for me since I was there. It's not a corner where you're braking into it, it's a bend on the straight, so you have to have a car otherwise you leave the other guy no option.

    "From my point of view, I was there, and I got squeezed to the wall."

    Ultimately, neither driver was punished for the incident as the stewards deemed it a racing incident which needed no further investigation. 
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    Verstappen fared better than team-mate Sergio Perez though, as the Mexican was involved in a huge crash just seconds into the race, forcing him out of it after an already poor qualifying.

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    "It means a lot, obviously. It's the race which made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day.

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    Piastri put in an assured drive to finish second, holding off Sainz to prevent a Ferrari one-two and was pleased with the way the race turned out.

    "Thanks to the team. It's been a great weekend all-round. Nice to put a result on the board. I've been strong the last few weekends but didn't have the result to show for it. Nice to have a podium," he said.

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