Nico Rosberg didn't expect Lewis Hamilton to back him up in Abu Dhabi

New Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg was not expecting team-mate Lewis Hamilton to back him up into the pack during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg didn't expect Lewis Hamilton to back him up in Abu Dhabi

Hamilton needed to win the race with Rosberg fourth or lower to win his fourth world title but when it became clear that was not happening, he gradually slowed the pace.

Despite several radio messages telling him to speed up, Hamilton continued to slow, particularly in the final stint, allowing the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers to close on Rosberg in second.

There were suggestions pre-race that Hamilton would use that tactic but Rosberg insisted he did not think that would happen.

"I wasn't expecting it, no," he said. "Maybe that was a bit naive but I didn't expect it.

"But it's not something we need to discuss a lot.

"It's easy to understand the team's side, because we do a certain thing all year and it doesn't change just in the last race.

"But at the same time, you can understand Lewis because it's the world championship.

"We are out there fighting, we're drivers and you can understand he wants to try something.

"We can just leave it at that."

As Sebastian Vettel closed up on Rosberg, the Mercedes driver's engineer reminded him he only needed third to win the championship.

But Rosberg said he couldn't afford to concede second to Vettel because he was concerned about the potential challenge from Max Verstappen in fourth.

"I had Vettel and Verstappen right behind," he said.

"I wanted to try and hold onto second because once I dropped one, who knows what kind of mess they are going to get into in front.

"Verstappen was right behind, I didn't want to have Verstappen right behind at the end."

When asked why he didn't risk a move for the lead if he felt he was being held up, Rosberg said: "I couldn't. I was trying at times but Lewis was doing it really well.

"He pushed flat-out for Turn 21 all the way through the first sector and then halfway through the second sector and that's where you overtake.

"I couldn't get close enough, he has the same car as me.

"Then he backed off in the part where I can't overtake.

"He was doing it perfectly and there was no way through for me."

shares
comments
Mercedes F1 concerns with Hamilton were legitimate in Abu Dhabi GP
Previous article

Mercedes F1 concerns with Hamilton were legitimate in Abu Dhabi GP

Next article

Abu Dhabi GP F1 title declder my toughest ever race - Nico Rosberg

Abu Dhabi GP F1 title declder my toughest ever race - Nico Rosberg
Load comments
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022