Nico Rosberg tears into Mercedes as Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton in title hunt

F1: Hamilton v Verstappen in numbers

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Nico Rosberg has criticised Mercedes’ tactics in their failed attempt to chase down race winner Max Verstappen at the Dutch Grand Prix. The German, who won the world championship with the Silver Arrows in 2016 before retiring from the sport, said his former team got their tactics wrong despite outscoring their constructors’ championship rivals Red Bull in the race.

Verstappen started on pole and managed to fend off the challenge from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas behind him.

He had to do so alone, as a power unit change against Parc Ferme rules meant the Dutchman’s team-mate Sergio Perez had to start from the pit lane.

The Mexican was driver of the day on Sunday after clawing his way up to eighth while Verstappen held on to his lead to win his home Grand Prix at Zandvoort, meaning they scored 29 points between them.

But by completing the rest of the podium and securing the fastest lap of the race, Hamilton and Bottas brought home 34 points for Mercedes who extended their slender championship lead over Red Bull.

JUST IN: Verstappen responds to Mercedes using Bottas tactic to help Hamilton

Despite out-scoring their rivals, Mercedes were criticised by their former employee who called out their strategy.

Rosberg was particularly critical of the timing of a pit-stop for Hamilton, which saw him emerge back onto the track behind traffic which slowed him down in his pursuit of the race leader.

He said on Sky Sports on Sunday: “They’ve had a couple of moments, not their usual high level of strategy. Something going on. This evening, they’ll be some serious discussions.

“First of all, the driver needs to go into the meeting, to see all the data because they haven’t seen anything out there. The basis of the discussion will be the traffic Hamilton got put into.

“What I also found bad today was the comments from [race engineer Peter Bonnington] to Lewis. So unclear, should he push now or not. What is he doing?

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“As a driver, this frustrates me like hell. I’m like come on, give us clear guidance. That was below par from Bono today.”

Rosberg was also critical of Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas, who defied team orders to try to take the fastest lap of the race – and the championship point which comes with it – away from his fellow Mercedes racer.

Hamilton took it back on the final lap anyway, but his former team-mate still called out the Finn for almost causing an internal feud.

“That one point is worth nothing for Valtteri, so you just create such a big issue,” he said.

“Even though he slowed down in the third sector, he still took it away and that was bad enough. We were going nuts in the TV room.

“Valtteri, no you can’t do that.”

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