Rosberg’s victory in Austria on Sunday was his third, with Hamilton winning four and Sebastian Vettel finishing on top of the podium in the second race of the season in Malaysia.
Hamilton is refusing to concede he was beaten in Monaco, where he dominated the whole weekend only to lose the race after making an unnecessary extra pit stop. Both he and Mercedes were to blame for the error of judgment.
Although Hamilton has dominated qualifying this season Rosberg has won three of the past four races and trails the British driver by 10 points going into the Silverstone grand prix on 5 July.
When told he was unable to shrug off Rosberg in the fight for the title, a defensive sounding Hamilton responded: “Not really, when you think about the places where points have been lost, it has been a pretty good year so far. He has done Barcelona and here, two out of eight isn’t too bad really. I’m happy with that.
“I have only had a couple of weekends where I have not been the strongest. Seven poles out of eight is pretty decent and perhaps without Monaco it wouldn’t be as close as it is now.”
Hamilton admitted Roseberg was quicker in Austria and “did a fantastic job”. He added: “I’m not sure if he was quicker all weekend but he was definitely quicker in the race.”
Rosberg, though, looked in more convincing form on all three days at the Austrian Grand Prix, and was set on Saturday to take pole before spinning off.
The German said: “We’ve been developing the clutch so that’s a lot better now, more consistent, and I’ve had a lot of great starts lately in the last four races – and Sunday as well.”
The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, said the former Ferrari and Mercedes technical director Ross Brawn could be the man to enliven F1 after much recent criticism. “I think the strategy group is fairly inept,” he said. “I keep saying it and I will repeat it again now: it is the commercial rights holder and governing body [the FIA] to decide what F1 should be and then put it on the table to the teams and say, ‘This is what we want the product to be, these are the rules, this is the entry form.’
“Maybe you need an independent observer, someone not involved … someone like Ross Brawn, who understands the challenges and knows the business, to write a specification for what a car or technical regulations should be.”
Horner, the most impressive team chief in the paddock, has been identified by some as the most likely man to take charge of the leader-less sport, in which the FIA does not seem interested while Bernie Ecclestone, 85 this year, appears incapable of reviving the sport he built up into a £1.5bn business.
Horner said: “Formula One has a huge amount of following around the world but we need to do a better job. We have gone too far and it is too complicated and we need to bring it back to basics. The cars are too easy to drive and you don’t see the drivers working as hard as they did a few years ago. You never hear a driver complaining about his neck these days. They want cars to be more of a challenge and therefore more of a spectacle.
“The cars need to be more of a challenge. There needs to be more competition. We don’t have that at the moment. There are a lot of discussions for 2017 at the moment but can we wait for 2017? We need to accelerate some ideas and decisions need to be made so people know what’s coming.
“We need to simplify some of these rules. Taking penalties and then further penalties in the race, drive-throughs, for example, is too complicated. It isn’t right that we don’t know what the grid sheet is until 10pm on a Saturday night after qualifying. For the teams to follow and understand is complicated enough but for the fans we need to keep it simple and get back to basics about what grand prix racing is.”
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