Formula One's World Championship leader Nico Rosberg has answered media claims that his title rival and teammate Lewis Hamilton is having a meltdown by dismissing the claims as "complete rubbish".
Hamilton's life has been turbulent off the track in recent weeks. The British racing star hit headlines after he walked out of the post-qualifying press conference on Saturday, having refused to answer any questions due to receiving criticism in the media for uploading videos to social media during a previous press conference.
It is also not too far in the past that Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo spoke out in public of an 'awkwardness' developing between the two Mercedes drivers, thus giving light to the notion that Hamilton - who is currently trailing Rosberg in the driver's championship - is starting to feel the pressure.
However, in an article featured on Sky Sports, Rosberg jumped to the defense of his teammate. When questioned on whether or not he thought the claims of a Hamilton meltdown in the media were justified, he said:
"It's complete rubbish. He's on it like ever before.
" [He is] fully motivated and does massive work hours also. I've seldom seen that from him in the last few years, such a large amount.
"For sure it's going to be a great battle with him, every race until the end of the championship," he continued.
Rosberg was speaking with the media in the wake of Mercedes becoming only the fifth team in the history of Formula One to win a third consecutive constructor's championship.
The only other teams to have won three or more constructor's titles on the bounce are Ferrari (1975, '76, '77), McLaren ( 1988, '89, '90, '91), Williams (1992, '93, '94) and Red Bull (2010,'11, '12, '13).
Ferrari holds the record for the most consecutive manufacturer's titles, winning from 1999 to 2004, with Michael Schumacher being their lead driver throughout that period.
Rosberg's victory in Japan has given him a 33 point lead in the driver's standings for 2016, with Hamilton trailing him in second on 280 points.
It is not over for Hamilton, however, with the U.S, Mexican, Brazillian, and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix' still to race before the end of the season, there are still vital world championship points up for grabs.