Hamilton disappointed by Mercedes interference in title duel


Lewis Hamilton expressed disappointment at Mercedes' attempts to interfere in his duel with Nico Rosberg for the Formula One drivers' championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix amid the fall-out from his plan of deliberately driving slow.

Hamilton qualified on pole and led into the first corner as he bid to overturn a 12-point deficit to bitter rival and team-mate Rosberg in Sunday's season finale.

But instead of racing off into the distance, Hamilton intentionally slowed his pace in an attempt to back Rosberg into the Red Bulls and the Ferraris.

The Briton ignored repeated radio calls to speed up and again brushed off similar instructions from executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe as Sebastian Vettel closed in on Rosberg.

But his efforts did not pay off, Rosberg holding firm in second behind Hamilton to claim his first world title.

Speaking in a post-race media conference: "There was never a moment where I felt I was going to lose the race. It is a shame that they wouldn't let us race but it's quite clear their thought process."

Retirements in Spain and Malaysia ultimately proved costly for Hamilton, who pointed to Rosberg's comparatively impressive reliability record in 2016 as a decisive factor in the title battle.

"Nico had a very, very clean year without any real issues, so that is why we sit in this situation right now," Hamilton added.

Asked by Sky Sports if this was one of the hardest runner-up positions he's had to take, Hamilton referenced his debut season in 2007, when he missed out on the title by a point to Kimi Raikkonen.

"I've been in a similar position in 2007, it was much harder in 2007," he said.

"Obviously having the experience helped a lot, certain things happen along the way, all I can do is do my best."

Hamilton would not be drawn on whether he gifted the title to Rosberg, saying: "I don't want to take anything from Nico, he did a great job."