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Lewis Hamilton has expressed his frustration that Mercedes requested he pick up his pace towards the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying he felt he did nothing wrong tactically in his tense battle with new champion Nico Rosberg.
Knowing a win alone wouldn't be enough for him to defeat Rosberg if his team-mate finished second or third on the road, Hamilton instead attempted to open up opportunities to Ferrari and Red Bull behind by refusing to stretch the pace.
With Rosberg running behind Hamilton following the final round of pit-stops, the outgoing champion controlled the pace out front, in doing so allowing Max Verstappen and latterly Sebastian Vettel to get within range of the German.
Prompting Mercedes to give Hamilton more than one order to pick up the pace, he'd continue to back Rosberg into the fast approaching Vettel.
His efforts would be to no avail with Rosberg holding onto second place from the charging Vettel to claim his first F1 world title.
Asked whether he felt it was necessary for Mercedes to intervene when he was understood to be allowed to fight it out on track, Hamilton admits he was perturbed by the request.
“I don't know why they just didn't let us race. There was never a moment that I felt that I was going to lose the race,” Hamilton said. “It is a shame but it was quite clear, their thought process, I don't know what to say.
“I don't think I did anything negative today. I was fighting for the championship, I was in the lead and I was controlling the pace. It was within the rules.”
READ: Nico Rosberg clinches the 2016 F1 world title
Hamilton is preparing for sit down talks with Mercedes bosses about his race and felt bemused why he was warned over the team radio to up his pace despite the team stating it would not intervene in the drivers' title battle.
“We had already won the constructors' so it was down to me and Nico,” he said. “However they still felt they needed to make comments so we will discuss it afterwards as we always do as a team.
“We can't let that overshadow the fact that Nico has just won the championship and the team has dominated all year long and more than any other team in the past. We can't ignore the fact that we have had a successful year.”
Rosberg, meanwhile, was unmoved by the tactics, saying he understood where Hamilton would feel justified in attempting to save his dwindling title hopes in Abu Dhabi.
"You can understand the team's perspective and you can understand Lewis' perspective so that's it.”
“Lewis was using all of his skill to do it [lead] perfectly so there was absolutely no way for me to be able to get by. I thought about it but it was just pointless. There was no way, he did it in a good way. In a perfect way.”
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