Nico Rosberg has defended calling Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen a "narcissist", saying it was intended to be a positive comment about the young driver's mentality and resilience.

Rosberg said on his Beyond Victory podcast with Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff that Verstappen, 21, was "like a narcissist like you write it in the dictionary."

F1 Driver Ratings - Bahrain Grand Prix

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Asked about the comment on Sky Sports' Bahrain Grand Prix broadcast, Rosberg stressed he meant it only in positive terms.

"Actually it was on the positive side. I was saying that was a very strong asset of his, because it gives you resistance in the very extreme world of Formula 1 if you really have that self-confidence and self-belief," Rosberg said.

"I still stick with it. He has it. Because if you mess up six times, and on the seventh time, you still end up doing the same thing and you get it right, and the whole season turns around like it did last year, you’ve got to be pretty damn self confident."

Verstappen endured a difficult start to the 2018 season, getting caught up in incidents at all of the first six races, culminating in him crashing out in Monaco practice and missing qualifying.

However, the Dutchman managed to bounce back to finish the year fourth in the final drivers' championship standings with two race wins and nine further podium finishes to his name.



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