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Nico Rosberg accuses Lewis Hamilton of being "soft" at French Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg accuses Lewis Hamilton of being
© Reuters
Max Verstappen moved into Lewis Hamilton's slipstream before jinking to his left and passing his rival.

Nico Rosberg accused Lewis Hamilton of being "soft" in his failure to stop Max Verstappen from winning the French Grand Prix.

Verstappen moved into Hamilton's slipstream before jinking to his left and passing his rival on the entry to the chicane at Circuit Paul Ricard on the penultimate lap.

But Rosberg, the only man to stop Hamilton from winning the title in the past seven years, questioned why the Briton did not offer a better defence.

"It is unusual from Lewis because he should have closed the damn door," Rosberg told Sky Sports. "Usually Lewis is the best one-to-one racer and I'm surprised he didn't try.

"He should have least tried to brake late and keep Max on the outside. It is a bit soft from Lewis."

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was also unable to stop Verstappen, who was on newer tyres, from getting by.

The Finnish driver ran off at the chicane as he attempted to stop Verstappen from taking second with nine laps remaining.

Responding directly to Rosberg's criticism, Hamilton said: "Firstly, there are marbles on the inside so I didn't want to make my tyres worse than they were.

"Max would have passed me on the straight afterwards so it would have made zero difference.

"It was pointless to defend any harder. You saw what happened to Valtteri, he went straight on, so there was no point messing the tyres up."

Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, also said his former team are struggling to cope with Red Bull's challenge following two poor strategy decisions in Sunday's race.

He added: "Red Bull are really becoming the dominant force more and more, which is putting so much pressure on Mercedes.

"We are seeing them making mistake after mistake, so they need to be careful and keep it together from now on to have a chance."

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Spanish Grand Prix on May 9, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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