THE ONE TO BEAT: Former F1 driver Franck Montagny believes Nico Rosberg is well on his way to winning the 2016 F1 championship. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
London - Former Formula 1 driver Franck Montagny thinks Nico Rosberg is ready to win his first world championship in 2016.
The veteran, who drove for Super Aguri ten years ago, says that just as reigning champion Lewis Hamilton is slipping, German Rosberg has stepped up his own game.
Rosberg more matured
Montagny told Le Point: "I think Nico has changed between last season and this year.
"He seems less sensitive to pressure now. He could have been destabilised after two straight defeats in Monaco and Canada, but before Baku he did important work in the simulator - Rosberg has matured this season."
READ: Rosberg wins first European GP in Baku
In contrast, Hamilton said as he arrived in Baku earlier in June 2016 that he rarely tries new tracks in the Mercedes simulator because: "I could spend a few hundred quid on a Playstation and learn the same amount."
Hamilton too relaxed
Montagny criticised that, saying Hamilton took "too easy" an attitude leading into what turned out to be an extremely challenging Baku layout on which he crashed in qualifying and then struggled to fix an incorrect engine mode setting during the race.
Montagny said: "He (Hamilton) was convinced he would easily beat Rosberg. Hamilton seems less applied and involved than he was in the past.
"In Baku, he seemed to arrive having decided not to use the simulator and relying on his talent alone. But you see that he made mistakes and is now under pressure.
READ: Webber - Only 'real' Hamilton can beat Rosberg
Montagny concluded: "Hamilton has a lot of his attention away from the circuits and seems bored by F1, which can damage him.
"Hamilton is probably faster than Rosberg, but he doesn't work as hard."