Ros­berg de­fends ‘un­der­stand­able’ Hamil­ton tac­tics

Arab News - - SPORTS -

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly-crowned For­mula One world cham­pion Nico Ros­berg on Tues­day down­played Mercedes team­mate and arch-ri­val Lewis Hamil­ton’s tac­tics to foil his chances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, say­ing the is­sue doesn’t war­rant much dis­cus­sion.

To re­tain the world ti­tle Hamil­ton had to win and see Ros­berg fin­ish off the podium, and ap­peared to slow down while block­ing him in the hope two other driv­ers could catch and over­take him.

“I can fully un­der­stand the team’s side of course be­cause we have been work­ing to­ward those guide­lines for three years now. At the same time I can also un­der­stand Lewis be­cause you know, we’re driv­ers, we’re fight­ers un­til the last me­ter,” the Ger­man said at a press con­fer­ence held in Kuala Lumpur.

“It was about the world cham­pi­onships, he de­cided to try ev­ery­thing he could out there so, also in a way it’s un­der­stand­able, even if it was very tough. And that’s it. I don’t think it’s some­thing that needs to be dis­cussed much.”

Ros­berg clinched his maiden world ti­tle on Sun­day, fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old Ros­berg con­cluded the long­est sea­son in the sport’s his­tory with a nail-bit­ing drive un­der in­tense pres­sure af­ter leader and race win­ner Hamil­ton had slowed the field to cre­ate a dif­fi­cult fin­ish.

Hamil­ton reeled off his 10th win of the sea­son — the most by any driver not to win the ti­tle — and the 53rd of his ca­reer, but his games­man­ship up­set his team and his team­mate in the clos­ing laps.

Hamil­ton ig­nored two in­struc­tions from the team to in­crease his speed at the front, but was un­able to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion in which Ros­berg could be at­tacked and passed.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, who helmed the presser with a ju­bi­lant Ros­berg, was care­ful not to be drawn into a dis­cus­sion on Hamil­ton and what con­se­quences he may face.

“I can un­der­stand why he (Hamil­ton) drove like he drove, that was his in­stinct. He needed to do that and equally our sys­tem has made them win many races and cre­ated an era of dom­i­nance,” Wolff said.

“But again, let’s dis­cuss it at a later stage. To­day it’s about only this man,” he added point­ing to Ros­berg sit­ting be­side him.

Ros­berg and Wolff were in Kuala Lumpur at­tend­ing a cel­e­bra­tory event by Petronas — the state oil firm and the Malaysian race’s ti­tle spon­sor which also backs the Mercedes team.

Malaysia has said it will dis­con­tinue its For­mula One Grand Prix race af­ter 2018 due to falling rev­enues, wav­ing the check­ered flag on one of Asia’s long­est-run­ning F1 races.

“You’ve al­ways had great rac­ing, great races. I’m sure it’s done a lot for Malaysia to cre­ate at­ten­tion around the world for your coun­try, for busi­ness, for ev­ery­thing,” Ros­berg said.

“And any­way, let’s just en­joy the next two at least and then we see how it goes for the fu­ture.”

An­der Her­rera — We just want to win. We want to fight for ev­ery­thing and we want to make our fans proud. (Reuters)

Nico Ros­berg ad­dresses the me­dia dur­ing a cel­e­bra­tory event by Petronas in Kuala Lumpur on Tues­day. (AFP)

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