Nico Rosberg backs Lewis Hamilton despite Max Verstappen’s ‘incredible’ F1 dominance

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NICO ROSBERG has praised Lewis Hamilton as he compared the seven-time champion to Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton discusses his experience with race at Formula 1

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Nico Rosberg insists that Lewis Hamilton is still one of the best drivers on the F1 grid despite his struggles while Max Verstappen eases to a second world title. The former Mercedes world champion has also tipped Hamilton to contend for victory at the Dutch Grand Prix to potentially end the home fans’ dreams of a Verstappen win.

However, Rosberg also applauded Verstappen, claiming he is now one among the sport’s elite after a dominant display this season. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “Max Verstappen has been driving incredibly this season, he is the best driver on the grid today together with Lewis I would say.

“But of course, Max also has a fantastic car so it’s incredible to watch him perform even under pressure. Yesterday in qualifying in Zandvoort he was on the back foot because he was way behind in free practice, up to eight-tenths behind and then they really made a lot of progress.

“And then come the last lap in qualifying, bang he was on it and delivered that special lap under huge pressure. The whole of Holland is expecting him to win so it is very very impressive to follow.”

READ MORE: Toto Wolff has Mercedes plan as Lewis Hamilton’s boss left worried

Nico Rosberg backs Lewis Hamilton despite Max Verstappen's 'incredible' F1 dominance

Nico Rosberg has admitted Lewis Hamilton was still one of the best on the grid (Image: Sky Sports F1 / Getty)

Verstappen lies 93 points ahead of nearest rival Sergio Perez in the world championship after securing his ninth win of the season in Belgium. But, the Dutchman didn’t have it all his own way on home turf after a difficult Friday at Zandvoort.

Verstappen broke down with a mechanical failure less than 10 minutes into FP1 which put the team on the back foot. He struggled in the afternoon’s second practice session, posting a time more than six-tenths slower than the pacesetters.

However, Red Bull turned up the heat in FP3 as Verstappen sliced the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes.

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Nico Rosberg backs Lewis Hamilton despite Max Verstappen's 'incredible' F1 dominance

Rosberg said it was ‘incredible’ to see Verstappen drive in 2022 (Image: Getty)

He then clinched his fourth pole position of the season in one of the tightest sessions of the year, pipping Charles Leclerc by just two-hundredths of a second. The reigning champion had luck on his side after neither Mercedes were able to set a competitive final run after Perez crashed, bringing out the yellow flags.

Hamilton will start the race fourth with team-mate George Russell only quick enough for P6. Rosberg has warned Verstappen will not have it easy on Sunday as he threw his weight behind Hamilton’s chances.

He added: “It’s not over because behind him he’s got two Ferraris who would be able to do different strategies and behind that again is Lewis Hamilton who seems to have a very fast race car this weekend. I think he will also want to try and contend for the top spots by the end of the race.”

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