Nico Rosberg commended his former team, Mercedes for their double podium at the 2022 French Grand Prix, a result neither he or anyone else could’ve foreseen.
The best qualifying Mercedes on the Saturday of the French Grand Prix weekend was Lewis Hamilton who was fourth fastest but 0.893s off the pace, while George Russell was sixth fastest, 1.259s off, which was a nasty wakeup call for Mercedes.
But the team raced to second and third on Sunday with Hamilton and Russell respectively, and Nico Rosberg was impressed by that.
“What an incredible comeback for Mercedes after the slap in the face in qualifying, no one could have foreseen a double podium and also with the pace that they showed,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“They were close to the pace of the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, especially if you look at the first stint. Lewis dropped about six seconds early on and then was pretty consistent there and even closed the gap a little bit.
“That was really a big positive now for Mercedes again,” Mercedes 2016 Formula 1 Champion claimed.
The German believes qualifying is till hurting Mercedes, and said: “It seems that maybe it’s that qualifying pace, which is that big, big issue which they need to get on top of.
Mercedes better on race pace, but not enough
“In race pace, they have confirmed that they’ve been making progress so that’s a big positive today for them,” he added.
“If they continue to have such bad Saturdays, it’s going to be difficult for them to make enough progress to really challenge for that win. So, it all comes down to that.
“On Sunday, it was so promising and so cool to see how Lewis was still so positive, motivated and satisfied with a P2 like that, being a bit closer to Verstappen. That’s great to see, it’s nice to see how he’s still pushing absolutely flat out and that’s going to help the whole team at Mercedes,” Rosberg explained.
“A Formula 1 team like Mercedes always works crazy, crazy hard. Sometimes, I struggle to imagine how they’re going to be able to work even harder because there’s a limit to everything,” the 37-year-old wondered.
“They remain super, super motivated and a race like Sunday also re-energises them because it gives them hope after a darker day like Saturday.
“It gives them hope that maybe they can still get that win this year and challenge for race wins towards the latter part of the season, with a bit of luck also you know.
“That hope really fires you up again and that’s the momentum which Mercedes are in at the moment,” the winner of 23 grands prix concluded.
Mercedes are now third in the Constructors’ Championship, 44 points behind second-placed Ferrari, who in turn are 82 points behind Red Bull in the lead.