Lewis Hamilton has the edge in battle with Max Verstappen, says Nico Rosberg

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Nico Rosberg has questioned whether Max Verstappen will crack under the pressure of fighting Lewis Hamilton for the world championship.

Hamilton and Verstappen renew their rivalry in Mexico City on Sunday as they enter the final stretch of their fascinating title battle.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points with five rounds and 130 points remaining.

But Rosberg – the only man to stop Hamilton from winning the championship in the past seven seasons – says Hamilton’s experience could provide him with an edge.

Max Verstappen, left, holds a 12-point lead over Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen, left, holds a 12-point lead over Lewis Hamilton (Tim Goode/PA)

“Lewis has done this before,” Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, told Sky Sports News.

“He’s already won seven titles, he’s been in a title fight towards the end of the season nine or 10 times.

“But for Max it’s the first time, and that is such an extreme situation to be in because it is his dream that’s at stake – to be a Formula One world champion.

“You don’t really know if you’ll ever have another chance, particularly with the regulations changing next year.

“There’s a lot at stake and the pressure is on Max to deal with this because he is new to the situation.”

Verstappen, 24, drove supremely to take the chequered flag ahead of Hamilton at the last round in Austin.

Nico Rosberg was a team-mate of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
Nico Rosberg was a team-mate of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes (Tim Goode/PA)

The Dutchman has won eight times this year, compared to Hamilton’s five victories. Verstappen also has six more pole positions than the Mercedes driver.

Rosberg added: “So far Max has been doing amazingly. One doesn’t even see that he’s under pressure, and it’s incredible how he’s dealing with it.

“You have the two best of their generations going head-to-head, and they are both in unbelievable form. It is so close, they are on the same level, and the cars are on the same level.

“It is important that they don’t make any mistakes. If one of them does, it is like a penalty kick for the other. I think it will go to the wire in Abu Dhabi.”

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