Nico Rosberg probably knows Lewis Hamilton better than most people. The two may not have been on the best of terms when the German announced his retirement, but it is widely believed that they were the closest of friends during their formative years.
Therefore, while there may be a hint of ill feelings still left between them following their fall-out as Mercedes teammates, Rosberg at least believes he understands how Hamilton’s mind works.
While they were teammates at Mercedes, Hamilton and Rosberg were pretty much just exclusively competing against each other.
In the 78 races that they participated in at Mercedes, one of them won on 54 occasions.
Rosberg expects Hamilton to make life tough for Russell
As this rivalry intensified, both of them began to learn a bit more about the ugly side of each other and Rosberg feels that new Mercedes recruit George Russell is also soon going to see this.
“Let’s focus on George, what an awesome job he has done,” Rosberg told Sky Sports.
“It is really phenomenal. With that car, with how difficult that car has been to drive, to be so consistent and drive it so well without making any mistakes and always getting the maximum out of it is brilliant.
“Even to the extent that on Saturday, one would think ‘OK, keep it safe and bring home another P4 and P5 in qualifying’. But no, he said ‘I’m going for gold and putting my slicks on as the only driver, I just care about pole position’. That’s awesome.
“Let’s say at the same time though that Lewis [Hamilton] is driving at his best. He’s had an unbelievably unlucky season so far with all these different things going against him.”
Rosberg commented on how Hamilton’s podium finish in Canada might just be the start of some friction between the current Mercedes partnership.
“This weekend has been the first normal weekend in a long time for him and he delivered in an awesome way. The driver pairing there is incredible at Mercedes at the moment, so strong,” he said.
“Make no mistake, Lewis hates passionately to ever come second to a teammate so he will be extra motivated and pushing very hard internally!”
Will things turn toxic between Hamilton and Russell?
Russell has been very impressive for Mercedes in his first year with the team.
He is the only driver on the circuit to have finished in the top-5 in all eight races so far this season.
Despite Hamilton’s success in Canada (where Russell finished just a spot behind him), the 24-year-old driver is still 34 points ahead of the seven-time world champion.
All focus will now shift to the British Grand Prix, where Hamilton boasts an extremely impressive record.
In the 15 races he has been a part of at this iconic venue, he has taken top honours eight times.
A world title may well be beyond him this season, with Max Verstappen 98 points ahead of him already, Silverstone will undoubtedly be one venue where Hamilton would want to show his pedigree.