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Nico Rosberg

Rosberg issues Russell 'uncomfortable' instruction in Hamilton fight

The former Mercedes driver has given instructions to the Briton on how to manage being team-mates with Lewis Hamilton.

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Nico Rosberg has told George Russell that he "can't be the nice guy" as he battles Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Russell and Hamilton have come into contact with each other a couple of times in 2023, including in Spanish GP qualifying after a misunderstanding and on the opening lap of the Qatar GP, which put Hamilton out.

He would later take full responsibility for the accident, something Rosberg - who remains the only team-mate to beat Hamilton to a world title - felt was unusual and insisted that Russell must let not up as he seeks to replace Hamilton as Mercedes' figure head.

"Things have been heating up because also in Suzuka it was well over the limit on one occasion when they both took each other off the track," Rosberg explained to Sky Sports F1, referencing the incident at Spoon curve in Japan when Hamiton ran wide, taking Russell with him.

"It's a very difficult situation for George. Unfortunately, you can't just be the nice guy in that situation - you have also internally to keep the pressure on.

"You have to make it difficult for the team, unfortunately. It sucks, but otherwise, the team will always just take the easiest route.

"It's very uncomfortable because George needs to be pushing - which he does on the radio, you hear him saying things like: 'Again' and things like that.

"It was a good one in Qatar for George because Lewis actually admitted [he was wrong].

"That was big win for George in that sense which is very rare because in my time Lewis never had 100 per cent fault, so he never actually had to admit [fault].

"It's very, very rare for Lewis to be at 100 per cent fault at that, it usually never happens, it's to be watched. It's an interesting battle and dynamic opening out there."

Rosberg also touched on the absence of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff who was resting at home on doctor's orders following knee surgery that also ruled him out of the trip to Japan.

"[Wolff's absence] would not have been ideal because Toto is the only person there who can manage that - the only person who has the authority and respect to be able to handle that, and he's the right guy to handle that," Rosberg said.

"No one else can force them to sit down and have a discussion. I think it will be very good for Toto to be back at the racetrack."

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