Rosberg: Wolff making Red Bull 'look like the bad guys'

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Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is handling his team's rivalry with Red Bull much better than his counter-part at the Milton Keynes-based outfit, Christian Horner.

The fierce competition on the track between title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen has extended to a strife between their respective teams' top brass.

Horner has taken aim on multiple occasions this season at Wolff, accusing the Austrian of flaring up a controversy on Red Bull's "flexi-wing" earlier this year, or wrongfully alluding to development gains achieved by Honda's engine.

But Horner's antagonism went up a notch in the wake of the high-profile clash between Hamilton and Verstappen at Silverstone.

Needless to say, last weekend's first corner carnage in Hungary triggered by Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas that put both Red Bull drivers out of contention only further infuriated Horner who offered an apologetic Wolff a look of disdain as the two crossed path in the paddock after the race.

Rosberg believes his former Mercedes boss has the upper hand over Horner when it comes to handling the dissension and animosity.

"Management is crucial and Toto has been managing it very well," Rosberg told Sky F1.

"He is really making Red Bull look like more and more the bad guys now with [them] trying to protest and all these things.

"He’s super-smart as well with playing the media game and also internally, really revving everyone up to try and beat them together."

In the opposite camp, Horner's attitude hasn't been as "smart" according to Rosberg, and the German suggests the bickering has had an impact on Red Bull's performance.

"I would say maybe not quite as smart and good in the last couple of days," added the 2016 F1 world champion.

"It was not ideal and has maybe also pushed Max to have that outburst [after qualifying in Hungary] in the media. So Christian not ideal, Max not ideal and it puts you on the back foot.

"Then you don’t qualify very well, Max’s car did have more pace than that, so it all comes together and I would definitely say advantage Hamilton and Mercedes at the moment in a big way."

While Verstappen was forced to hand over the lead in the drivers' standings to Hamilton, the Dutchman remains a strong favorite for the title, a status that inevitably generates massive pressure.

"I also wouldn’t under-estimate how difficult it is for Max for the first time in his life to be favourite for the World Championship," commented Rosberg.

"The pressure just exponentially goes up and it’s a difficult thing to manage.

"We must also remember he’s still very young, even though he’s done seven years in F1, so we could be seeing some moments where it’s just getting to him a little bit."

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