Ferrari’s attempts to manage the Sochi race were thrown into chaos when Vettel reneged against a pre-race agreement to let Leclerc resume the lead of the race after being towed from third to first off the line.
Vettel said over team radio that he would have jumped Leclerc regardless and that the Monegasque should close up if he wanted to be let through.
Rosberg says Vettel’s messages were proof of him being a “natural” at playing the team’s game to his favour, with Leclerc’s messages more measured, especially when compared to his frustrations during the Singapore GP, when Vettel had undercut him.
Leclerc apologised to the team for those actions, and team boss Mattia Binotto said he would learn, but Rosberg says keeping public pressure on the team will be important or the 21-year-old.
“Leclerc was playing quite fair, I think, in Sochi but in Singapore he complained about it on the radio and he got had over for that,” Rosberg said on his YouTube channel.
“The press jumped on him ‘you’re such a bad loser’ things like that, so he was trying to hold back a little bit and he complained a lot less in Sochi, really just stating the facts and he didn’t really complain.
“As a driver it’s such a fine line because if you make it too easy for the team to walk over you, they’re always going to choose the easy way to do it.
“If one driver gets aggressive, gets angry, shouts at the team and is just really tough to walk over, the team will naturally choose the weaker guy, and most of the time that guy is going to end up with the short straw.
“As a driver you have to set your mark, even publicly from time to time, not too much because then you piss the team off and you lose your respect within the team. But not too little because then you make it easy for the team to walk over you.
“It’s such a horrible challenge and such a fine line to get right and Vettel is such a natural at that as he showed in Sochi but Leclerc, it’s a little more difficult for him.”