Nico Rosberg has defended Mercedes team-mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton and feels he is as focused as ever.

Rosberg denies Hamilton meltdown

Rosberg denies Hamilton meltdown

Hamilton has now slipped 33 points behind the German in the race for the Formula One title after Rosberg's victory in Japan but it was the manner of the British driver's off-track behaviour that drew most attention at Suzuka.

The defending champion's strange conduct in a pre-race press conference and then his decision to walk out of another media briefing after being annoyed at what had been written about him set the tone for a poor start and a third-place finish on Sunday.

There has been talk that Hamilton is 'losing it' mentally in the face of pressure from his colleague but, according to Rosberg, that is not the case.

"I can tell you behind the scenes he is as focused as ever, especially after a setback like Malaysia," he said. "He was working the longest hours I've seen him work with the engineers in many, many months trying to find those little bits of lap time, so I've seen him working extremely well and focused.

"I haven't seen any self-destruction. The Lewis I saw was massively motivated and focused, and anyway it's about me getting the best out of myself, and not focusing on what Lewis' state of mind is."

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