Nico Rosberg is taking strain under the pressure from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, according to former Red Bull race engineer Mark Hutcheson.
The German has seen his lead at the top of the World Championship standings evaporate in recent weeks, with Hamilton claiming back-to-back victories to cut the deficit to just a single point heading to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
While Hamilton celebrated from the top spot of the podium in Austria and Great Britain, Rosberg finished in fourth at the Red Bull Ring after a last-lap coming together with his team-mate, and was demoted to third last time out at Silverstone after being penalised for a breach of F1’s radio rules.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race, Rosberg has insisted that the battle with Hamilton is one he relishes.
“The battle is on with Lewis and I’m feeling great in myself and great in the car, so bring it on,” Rosberg said. “I can’t wait for the next battle between us in Budapest. It’s a tough circuit that really tests you as a driver.”
However, Hutcheson, who now works as a pundit, believes that Rosberg is struggling to remain in the fight mentally.
“Despite what he might say publicly, I think mentally he’s struggling,” Hutcheson told Sky Sports.
“I don’t think it’s about pure pace but the problem is with pure pace he can maybe get a pole – but at the minute if Lewis is near him, he’s managed to find a way to get past him.
“Whether they’ve made contact, whether Lewis has thought on the last lap, ‘I’ll have a go’, whatever it is. I think mentally Nico Rosberg is struggling.”