The Red Bull driver was forced to pass the Mercedes pair after making an extra pitstop on his way to claiming a brilliant third victory of the season at Paul Ricard to further extend his championship lead.

Verstappen made short work of overtaking Valtteri Bottas for second place, before he dived down the inside of main rival Lewis Hamilton at the Turn 6 chicane on the penultimate lap of the race. 

Rosberg, who was on punditry duties for Sky Sports F1 in France, slammed the approach of both Mercedes drivers. The German labelled Bottas’ efforts as “rubbish”, while he called Hamilton’s defence “a bit soft”. 

“Valtteri did a rubbish job in defending because he blocked completely unnecessarily, he braked way too late, went straight on, so Max had such an easy time getting past,” Rosberg told viewers. 

“Maybe he would have got past anyways, but at least cost him a bit more effort. It was not a very good way of defending and could have been done in a much more smart way.”

Speaking about Hamilton’s half-hearted attempt to keep Verstappen behind, Rosberg added: “Close the damn door, no? 

“Usually, Lewis is the best one-to-one racer and I’m surprised he didn’t try. At least try, brake late and try to keep him on the outside. A bit soft from Lewis, somehow.”

Hamilton argued it was “pointless” to try to defend harder from Verstappen given his rival’s pace advantage on fresher, softer tyres. 

“Firstly there’s marbles on the inside, so I didn’t want to make my tyres any worse than they already were,” he explained. 

"He had the DRS open, if he didn’t pass me there he would have passed me on the straight afterwards so it made zero difference. And I had no front end so he would have got me either way, so it was pointless to defend any harder. 

“I think you saw what happened with Valtteri, just ended up going straight on, so there’s no point messing up the tyres any more.” 

Meanwhile, the Briton drew praise from Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who said: “I have to say Lewis was very fair with the pass, he didn’t defend hard or aggressively and it was a very clean move.”

F1 2021 | French GP Race Review | What a race!