Sebastian Vettel says Lewis Hamilton was driving as 'slow as a bus' in F1 finale
Sebastian Vettel says he was careful in the closing laps of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi finale to not ruin the battle for the 2016 world championship.
However, the Ferrari driver denied that he deliberately did not overtake Nico Rosberg in order to support his German countryman, as Lewis Hamilton did what he could to slow the pace to allow Vettel and Max Verstappen a chance to catch up to second-place Rosberg. Hamilton won the race, and had Rosberg finished off the podium, Hamilton would have claimed the championship.
“Nico was a little too fast for me on the straight,” Vettel said to German media outlet Auto Motor und Sport. “Turn 11 was the best place, but Nico did well to defend.”
Some, however, suspect that the moves Vettel did try were half-hearted.
Vettel added, “Nico was so close behind Lewis that I could not take full risk, because I could have cleaned (Hamilton) up, as well. I did not want to risk a stupid maneuver.”
The four-time world champion has also been quoted as admitting he did not fully agree with Hamilton’s backing-up tactics.
“I would not have wanted to be in Nico’s shoes,” said Vettel. “Everyone knew what Lewis was up to. He was as slow as a bus and wanted to drive Nico into us. I wanted to win the race for Ferrari, but I also knew that Lewis and Nico were racing for the title.”
Vettel, therefore, said Rosberg is a fully deserving world champion, dismissing Hamilton’s hints that only better car reliability got him over the line.
“In my view, you can never be champion just with luck,” Vettel told Bild newspaper. “Sometimes you have luck, sometimes you are not so lucky, but I think that has happened to other drivers in the past. Nico collected the most points over the year — he was very consistent — and I think you should never doubt whether someone has earned the title or not.
“Over 21 races, the result speaks for itself.”