Toto Wolff denies Nico Rosberg is weak in Lewis Hamilton F1 battles

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff insists Nico Rosberg's 'nice-guy' attitude towards Formula 1 team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton this season is not a sign of weakness

Toto Wolff denies Nico Rosberg is weak in Lewis Hamilton F1 battles

Since the on-track bust-up at last season's Belgian Grand Prix, which resulted in Rosberg being sanctioned internally by the team, he has been comprehensively outdriven by Hamilton.

Hamilton has won 14 of the 21 races that have followed, Rosberg just four, while the Briton has outqualified the German by a score of 15-6, including 12-2 so far this year.

GP ANALYSIS: Was Hamilton fair to Rosberg in Japan?

With Hamilton 48 points clear of Rosberg with five races remaining this season, a third world title appears to be heading the way of the 30-year-old.

Despite that, Wolff is refusing to rule Rosberg out of the equation, and believes he has the character to haul himself back into the running, regardless of the way things appear.

"The way I see him and the way I feel where he is, he has not given up," said Wolff.

"There is no way a driver will give up unless it is not mathematically possible any more. This is what I see in Nico's case, with his character.

"Of course, we try to maintain a good relationship in the team and not have any animosity and sometimes when a driver appears to be nice it is seen as a weakness, but it is not that at all."

Since what unfolded at Spa last year, when Rosberg clipped a tyre on Hamilton's car with his front wing, the German has appeared more cautious when racing wheel-to-wheel with his team-mate and has come off second-best in their dices.

But Wolff added: "We have seen races like Bahrain and Spa where we have seen that, but it also shows how close they fight with each other.

"I wouldn't want to say there is a tendency that if they fight it is Lewis who comes out on top. That's definitely not the case for me."

Wolff acknowledged, however, that after failing to claim pole in Singapore and Japan, and given Mercedes' issues in the first of those races, Hamilton was back on form with his win at Suzuka.

"He was very dominant. It is back to the momentum he had before," said Wolff.

"It wasn't as controlled from the car's perspective as it appeared, but definitely his driving was very impressive."

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