Lewis Hamilton’s Portuguese Grand Prix victory over Max Verstappen “amused” Nico Rosberg. The former German driver knows exactly what it takes to beat the seven-time world champion and he has explained how Verstappen is finding out the hard way.
Hamilton started second on the grid but he overtook Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to seal a second victory of the season.
The Brit pulled eight points clear of his Red Bull rival at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
Verstappen thought this year was going to be a close title fight but Rosberg think reality might have hit home after the Dutchman finished in second place, but still 29 seconds behind the winner.
“What a phenomenal race by Lewis,” Rosberg told Sky F1 after the race.
“I’m a bit amused because Max Verstappen is starting to understand better and better how good Lewis Hamilton is.
“He needs to do everything perfect to beat him in the championship and at the moment it’s 2-1 to Lewis.”
After the race Hamilton said: “That was such a tough race, physically and mentally, keeping everything together. I didn’t quite get as good a start as Valtteri and then lost out at the restart which was not good.
“I had to try and reposition myself best I could, I think Max made a mistake at some point and that was perfect. With Valtteri I had to make the move early on before the tyres were destroyed and I just managed to get him at Turn one. Right on my limit. Great race.
“There’s a lot to download from today, improvements we can make. It wasn’t all perfect so we will look at those points.”
And Verstappen added: “My race was pretty decent. I had a good restart and then of course, I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri.
“At the end, I think we just lacked a little bit of pace but overall, Lewis got by again and once after the pit stop, the warm up is super hard on this tyres.
“Around here we were lacking a bit if pace compared to Mercedes but still, second and fastest lap…”
Verstappen set the fastest lap but it was chalked off for exceeding track limits at Turn 14.
“Really? OK. That’s a bit odd because they were not checking track limits at Turn 14. Whatever,” Verstappen added.
“This was an odd weekend in terms of grip. We were not on top of it here but we’ll see what we can do in Barcelona.”