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Hamilton insists race was ‘clean and fair’

27 Nov 2016

Lewis Hamilton is adamant he did nothing wrong or unfair by slowing down the pace and allowing rivals to close in on Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg during a tense title decider in Abu Dhabi.

The defending champion was repeatedly asked to increase his pace by his team during the closing stages of the race, particularly when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel closed in on fresher tyres. But Hamilton, who needed Rosberg to miss the podium in order to snatch the title, gave such instructions short shrift during the race, and afterward said he had not done anything untoward.

“I don’t think I did anything dangerous today, or unfair,” Hamilton said. “We’re fighting for a world championship, I was in the lead of the race, so I control the pace. That’s the rules.

“For me I’m in the position where I’ve had a lot of points lost during the season so I’m out there fighting, and I generally never try to do anything to harm the team. But we had already won the constructors' championship so today it was down to me and Nico, and the team still felt they needed to interfere.

“I don’t know why they didn’t just let us race. I knew being in the lead I was losing the championship, and there was never a moment I felt I was going to lose the race. I don’t really have much to say to them to be honest. There was never a moment I felt I was at risk.”

Despite his frustrations, Hamilton said that Rosberg’s triumph - rather than their on-track fight - that should be the main talking point.

“We shouldn’t let it overshadow the fact Nico is champion,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling to win the world championship.

“I feel good, I did everything I could this year, especially in the final races. But Nico had a clean year without any real issues to be honest, that’s why we sit in these positions. He did a fantastic job so congratulations - and I look forward to fighting with him next year.”