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Nico is 'mentally struggling'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 20-07-2016 skysports.com
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Nico Rosberg is "mentally struggling" after seeing his title lead over Lewis Hamilton almost evaporate, according to Red Bull race engineer Mark Hutcheson.

The German romped away with the first four races of 2016 but has won just once since, with his Mercedes team-mate sealing recent back-to-back victories to cut the gap to just a single point ahead of the Hungarian GP.

Rosberg says he is enjoying the fight with Hamilton but after their last-lap crash in Austria and his demotion to third place in Great Britain, former Red Bull race engineer Mark Hutcheson believes the Brit has the mental edge.

He said about Rosberg: "Despite what he might say publicly, I think mentally he's struggling.

"I don't think it's about pure pace but the problem is with pure pace he can maybe get a pole - but at the minute if Lewis is near him, he's managed to find a way to get past him.

"Whether they've made contact, whether Lewis has thought on last lap, 'I'll have a go', whatever it is. I think mentally Nico Rosberg is struggling.'

Hutcheson joined Sky F1's Rachel Brookes and Marc Priestley in the studio, with the trio looking ahead to this week's race in Budapest.

And former McLaren mechanic Priestley, who last week claimed Hamilton was playing a "psychological game" with his team-mate, agreed that the loss of the 43-point lead he once held will be affecting Rosberg.

"I think Lewis has played a big part in that, not only with his driving, but the words he comes out with," Priestley added. "It's got to hurt, hasn't it.

"When you've seen that huge lead evaporate almost to nothing, it's got to be playing on his mind."

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