Nico Rosberg has refuted claims that Lewis Hamilton is self-destructing, adamant that his title rival is working harder than ever before and could still fight back.
Hamilton raised eyebrows throughout the Suzuka weekend as he was labelled a ‘snapbrat’ for playing on social media during Thursday’s press conference.
Unhappy with the criticism from some parts of the media, the World Champion walked out on a press conference in the wake of qualifying.
A day later a botched start cost him the opportunity of fighting for the victory which went to Rosberg.
As such Hamilton trails his team-mate by 33 points with some suggesting that the off-track antics were a distraction for Hamilton.
Rosberg has denied this.
“First of all I don’t know any of these things,” he said. “I don’t see them during a race weekend, so I don’t know what has been going on.
“But I can tell you behind the scenes he has been as focused as ever. Because – especially after a setback like Malaysia – he was working the longest hours I have seen him work for many, many months trying to find those little bits of lap time.
“I have seen him extremely motivated and focused with the engineers.”
Asked if he took any encouragement from his title rival self-destructing, the German replied: “As I said, I haven’t seen any self-destruction and the Lewis I saw was massively motivated and focused.
“I don’t see Lewis’ media, I know what I’m doing on a race weekend and it’s about getting the best out of myself and not focusing on what Lewis’ state of mind is.”