Nico Rosberg: Ferrari need 'serious changes' - but Charles Leclerc can still beat Max Verstappen to title
Sky Sports F1's Nico Rosberg has his say on all the major moments from the French GP, from Charles Leclerc's crash and whether he should have taken the blame, to Ferrari's strategy and Mercedes' best result of the season; plus, is Max Verstappen's title lead safe?
Last Updated: 26/07/22 9:09am
Sky Sports F1's Nico Rosberg says Ferrari need to make "serious changes" after what he perceived as another strategy blunder at the French GP, while he also insists Charles Leclerc is still in the title fight against Max Verstappen despite losing big points after his crash from the lead.
It was another dramatic race on Sunday with Verstappen taking advantage of Leclerc's crash to move 63 points clear with 10 races remaining, while Sainz missed out on a podium after a late Ferrari pit-stop call.
Rosberg, reflecting on the events, had his say on all those big moments as well as Mercedes' best result of the season in second and third, Lewis Hamilton's upturn in form and more...
'Why did Leclerc take the blame for crash?'
"I really think it was premature of Leclerc to take the blame.
"He needs to go back now, because it's really very unusual for that to happen in the way it did, because you're not even pushing to the maximum there, you're saving tyres.
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"For the rear to go like that, one thing could be at that point, that's exactly the point when the wind comes from the rear, and if you get an unlucky gust or something, that can suddenly take 20 per cent of your downforce away right in that moment.
"And also, what was happening with the engine there? It only takes a little bit of a cut or something that can kick out the rear. I really think they need to take some time to look at that because I still can't believe that it would be a driver mistake.
"I also found it was a little bit strange, and I think that's where Charles was complaining that he was not able to go on throttle because the car I don't think was even broken?
"The front wing was broken probably going into the barriers, but I'm surprised he didn't try and get out of there even more and continue. I'm not sure what happened there."
'Binotto needs to make serious changes at Ferrari'
"I was shaking my head at Ferrari's strategy for Sainz. What on earth are they doing there? First of all, he was in the middle of a huge battle out on track and his whole team wasn't watching that anymore, they were down doing their calculations about pitstop times. They were talking to him like in the middle of the wheel-to-wheel action. I thought, guys what are you doing?
"Then, Carlos is in P3 and comfortably he would have been able to stay there, and the tyres would have been fine until the end. He even had a chance to still get Lewis for P2. Then, they bring him in and there's no chance to go beyond P5 where he ended up.
"What an earth is going on there?
"Really, I think it's time they made some changes there, some serious changes.
"Taking the pit stop and not racing until the end and then having the penalty added on…
"Terrible judgement there, terrible. I can't explain it. Mattia [Binotto, team boss] really needs to get on top of that and make some serious changes I think there now."
'Verstappen now comfortable... but Ferrari are faster!'
"It puts him in a quite comfortable position. The only thing is, let's not forget, that Ferrari seem to have the better car at the moment.
"They out-qualified Red Bull and Leclerc was running away with the win as well just before he spun. Everything was going their way.
"They were able to do their one-stop strategy most likely, things were going really well, so that can give us hope that Leclerc can still stage a comeback in the championship in the remaining races. It's still to play for."
'Mercedes' race-day recovery will give them hope'
"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.
"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.
"It seems that maybe it's that qualifying pace, which is that big, big issue which they need to get on top of. In race pace, they have confirmed that they've been making progress so that's a big positive today for them.
"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.
"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.
"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."