Mercedes duo not worried Max will interfere in title race

Formula One points leader Nico Rosberg and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton say they are not worried about Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and his offensive driving style potentially interfering in their title fight.

The Dutchman has come under a lot of scrutiny for his on-track tactics this year, even prompting the FIA to issue a clarification regarding moving under braking in Austin last month.

Verstappen was also criticised for attacking Rosberg at the previous round in Mexico, with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff saying he was unhappy with the 19-year-old’s ruthlessness.

With Verstappen, Rosberg, and Hamilton all in attendance during Thursday’s FIA press conference at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Mercedes drivers were asked whether they had any fear of racing the Red Bull ace with the championship at stake.

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“Fear? No, definitely not,” Rosberg replied. “And driving style? I think it’s just important that we keep on discussing because I think there’s still room for progress in terms of getting continuity in the decisions and that’s it.

“So it’s something we need to keep going on with, keep discussing to see if we can make improvements there and that’s it. It’s not depending on one specific driver or not, so that would be good to do that.”

Hamilton, who defended Verstappen when he came under fire, added: “I can only really comment on Max’s driving as I have through the year. He’s obviously a very talented kid.

“I’m calling him a kid because he’s a kid to me, he’s still below 20 and he’s still got a lot to learn but he’s obviously done a great job up until now and he’s going to continue to grow and be a force to be reckoned with in Formula One.”

Rosberg enters this weekend’s Interlagos event 19 points ahead of Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings.

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