Rosberg Feels Hamilton’s Underestimation Of Max Verstappen Is The Reason For The Painful US GP Defeat.

Lewis Hamilton was in the lead during the US GP prior to a last-gasp move from Max Verstappen. Nico Rosberg believes that Lewis Hamilton may have “underestimated” the pace of Max Verstappen and his RB18 during the US Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver supposedly failed to recognise how quickly the Red Bull was moving until it was too late, according to the Hamilton’s former teammate and 2016 world champion.

Verstappen’s second pit stop was the initial blunder made by Red Bull which gave Hamilton a five-second lead over the Dutchman. However, after switching to the much pacier medium tyres, he was able to catch up to the British driver swiftly.

Verstappen then took the lead after moving by the Hamilton’s W13 at turn 12 with the help of DRS because he was unable to maintain his lead for too long. However, Rosberg adds that Hamilton could have improved his defence if he had been more cognizant of Red Bull’s advantage.

“I wonder if Lewis, I think he underestimated in that moment how fast that Red Bull is in top speed and how quickly the Red Bull closes in at the end of that straight,” said Nico Rosberg in a chat with Sky Sports F1’s Any Driven on Monday.

“It was the first time Max was really that close. It was just difficult for Lewis to judge and understand how incredibly fast that Red Bull was down the straight. Otherwise, maybe he could have come over a little bit earlier and close that door a bit more.”

Even so, Hamilton’s P2 in Austin matched his best result of the year. The Silver Arrows were back in form, and it was the seven-time champion’s first podium finish since the Hungarian GP in July. Prior to the race, the team unveiled their final season-ending upgrades, including upgraded rear wing and a new floor.

Rosberg conceded that Hamilton might still get more out of his Mercedes in terms of performance and George Russell could only finish in fifth place after making contact with Carlos Sainz on the first lap. Therefore, Only 20 points separate the two drivers as a result of the outcome, putting Hamilton back into the intra-team battle.

Rosberg continued: “I was also really enjoying watching Lewis out there. I can appreciate almost more than anyone else, what level Lewis is able to drive sometimes when he is really in the flow.”

“Especially at a track like Austin which is one of his best tracks. I was rooting for him yesterday to once again rise above the actual level of the car and really give a run to Max. That’s what was so thrilling to watch.”