Formula 1

Nico Rosberg must stop playing Mercedes game after Montreal 1-2

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Nico Rosberg once again finds himself nearly a full race victory, in terms of points, behind Lewis Hamilton as the world champion dominated Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

After the chaos of the closing laps in Monaco, following Mercedes' and Hamilton's joint decision to pit for new tyres during a late safety car period, it was business as usual at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the Briton again having track position and therefore the right of passage to claim a fourth win of 2015.

Mercedes system hurting battle

That is the biggest issue with this current period of Mercedes leading at the front with Ferrari clinging on by their fingernails, the fact that nearly every race is dictated not by Hamilton or Rosberg's desire to beat each other, but by Mercedes' need to control their two drivers like schoolboys.

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It was apparent during Sunday's race that the pitwall had more influence over when Nico Rosberg was 'allowed' to try and launch an attack on Lewis Hamilton, rather than the German himself using his racing brain and try to pass his team-mate.

The idea was for Rosberg to save his tyres and fuel for an assault in the final laps of the Grand Prix, but being on the same team Hamilton's engineer was able to warn Lewis what was being planned and the Briton defended accordingly.

In a time when Formula 1 fans criticize Ferrari for their history of lead and number two drivers, the system of giving the first driver on track preference on strategy, while beneficial for the team, rarely gives the driver behind a chance to attack.

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Time for Rosberg to get selfish

Now 17 points behind Hamilton in the championship and heading into the period of the season where Rosberg made all his progress last year, it's time for Nico to do what Lewis has been known to do at times during the rivalry between the pair, do what is best for him.

Remember, Mercedes were calling on Hamilton to hold back during last year's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but, rather than follow the instruction, the Briton attacked and took what would be the first of five straight wins that would result in his championship triumph in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg has yet to beat Hamilton head-to-head without outside assistance this year, as Lewis was stuck behind Sebastian Vettel for the first stint in Spain which was proceeded by the pit-stop drama in Monaco. Yet when Rosberg has felt that sense of injustice, focusing on Bahrain, he was able to produce a number of quality overtakes and show the fight that it would need to take on his team-mate.

2014 in reverse

Coincidentally the gap between the pair after seven races this season is only five points less in Hamilton's favour than it was in Rosberg's last year as a retirement for Lewis and a second place finish for Nico in Montreal gave him a 22-point advantage heading to the next race in Austria.

Therefore Rosberg needs to have the type of run that Hamilton had towards the end of last year or hope for a now increasingly rare mechanical issue to stop the world champion if he wants to make up for the disappointment of last year.

But as it stands right now, especially after Hamilton put his own disappointments of Barcelona and Monte Carlo behind him to win in Canada, the ball looks firmly in the Briton's court for a third world title and second in succession.

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