Nico Rosberg has spoken out about what he views as "rising tensions" at Mercedes, with the reigning Constructors' Champions seemingly unable to join in the title fight with Red Bull and Ferrari.
While George Russell managed fourth place after a spirited drive at Imola, Lewis Hamilton could only place 13th and a lap down on race winner Max Verstappen.
Over the weekend, footage emerged of an animated Toto Wolff speaking with Hamilton in the garage – their body language suggesting that there was a mild disagreement taking place.
While both Hamilton and Wolff downplayed the moment, saying that they had simply been expressing mutual dissatisfaction with how qualifying had proceeded, former Mercedes driver Rosberg suspects there's more to it than they are letting on.
Rosberg: Toto, in my view, was angry at Lewis
"It's definitely a very, very tough situation for Lewis," Rosberg told Sky Sports F1.
"He's won a race in every single year of his career, and it looks like this might be the year where he can't win any more.
"You can see how the tension is rising. We saw how Toto, in my view, was angry at Lewis [after qualifying], because maybe Lewis criticised the team a little bit too harshly over the team internal radio about something they did.
"The tension's rising, and that's natural, and Lewis will obviously start to show those emotions a little bit.
"Nevertheless, with the experience he has, I think he will eventually manage to keep those under control."
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Rosberg empathises with his former teammate
Rosberg, who retired from F1 after beating Hamilton to the 2016 Drivers' Championship, admitted that he felt slightly sorry for his former rival.
"It was tough to see Lewis in that state; he's really down, which is understandable," he said.
"It is a long season, but they're nowhere with that car. They're not even going to be able to fight for race wins any time soon, so it's difficult for Lewis to keep his motivation up.
"I think he will manage, because he really is a fighter, and remember there's always that thing that he still wants to beat his teammate. That's really, really important to him.
"With George performing so well, that could be the biggest motivator for Lewis to just keep going and keep fighting."
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