Former F1 driver Franck Montagny thinks Nico Rosberg is ready to win his first world championship in 2016.
The Frenchman, who drove for Super Aguri ten years ago, says that just as reigning title winner Lewis Hamilton is slipping, German Rosberg has stepped up his own game.
“I think Nico has changed between last season and this year,” he told Le Point.
“He seems less sensitive to pressure now. He could have been destabilised after two straight defeats in Monaco and Canada, but before Baku he did important work in the simulator — Rosberg has matured this season,” said Montagny.
In contrast, Hamilton said as he arrived in Baku last week that he rarely tries new tracks in the Mercedes simulator because “I could spend a few hundred quid on a Playstation and learn the same amount.”
Montagny criticised that, saying Hamilton took “too easy” an attitude leading into what turned out to be an extremely challenging Baku layout on which he crashed in qualifying and then struggled to fix an incorrect engine mode setting during the race.
“He (Hamilton) was convinced he would easily beat Rosberg,” he said. “Hamilton seems less applied and involved than he was in the past.
“In Baku, he seemed to arrive having decided not to use the simulator and relying on his talent alone. But you see that he made mistakes and is now under pressure.
“Hamilton has a lot of his attention away from the circuits and seems bored by F1, which can damage him,” Montagny added.
“Hamilton is probably faster than Rosberg, but he doesn’t work as hard.”