F1 »

F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Vettel: Hamilton backed up too much to pass Rosberg

Sebastian Vettel says his sole aim was victory in Abu Dhabi and Lewis Hamilton's backing up cost him chance of passing Nico Rosberg.
Click here for the full Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race results

Sebastian Vettel says his sole aim was victory in Abu Dhabi regardless of the F1 world title permutations and feels Lewis Hamilton's backing up of Nico Rosberg in the closing laps denied him the chance to pass.

With Hamilton needing to win in Abu Dhabi and see Rosberg finish off the podium, the British driver tried to slow the pace at the front to bring the Red Bull and Ferrari cars into contention, despite repeated calls from his Mercedes team radio to speed up for fear of losing the race.

Vettel, who was charging on fresher super-softs at the end of the race having passed both Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and both Red Bulls, closed up to Rosberg's gearbox six laps from the finish but couldn't find a way past before the chequered flag which saw his fellow countryman crowned F1 world champion.

Asked about his impact on the F1 world title battle, Vettel says his goal was the win in Abu Dhabi but felt he couldn't get past Rosberg with the Mercedes driver gaining DRS from Hamilton on the home straight as well as following in the turbulent air behind both drivers.

“I was following two cars, the tyres start to go too hot so I was struggling with my fronts so it was difficult to stay close but I did what I could,” Vettel said. “Lewis was probably a bit too close and maybe I could have had them. Nico defended well, turn 11 was the spot where maybe I could have had a chance but that way it wasn't possible.

“When I got behind Nico I was faster but also due to the fact Lewis was slowing down. I tried everything but they were very, very quick down the straight and Nico had DRS so it was difficult.

“On the second straight it was the spot I was having a look but Nico defended well and closed the inside so I couldn't really go anywhere. I couldn't try anything really stupid because Lewis was just ahead so if I really dived around the inside or outside I could have hit him.”

Vettel paid tribute to Rosberg's maiden F1 world title feat, calling him 'a deserved champion' over the 21-round campaign and played down Hamilton's quip that he was helped to the crown by the Brit's reliability woes.

“You don't win the championship by luck so I think Nico won the championship today and he is a deserved champion,” he said. “You collect a lot of points throughout the season and there are fortunate and unfortunate situations with your car and other situations in the past.

“That is the way it goes, sometimes you have better seasons sometimes worse and today is Nico's day. It is a sign of respect and greatness to give him that and we owe it to him as he is a deserved champion.”

Even if Vettel had pushed Rosberg into third the Mercedes driver would have still be crowned 2016 F1 world champion as a podium finish was enough to seal the title.

Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst

by Haydn Cobb



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Press conference, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Daniel Ricciardo tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Krishi

November 28, 2016 8:01 AM

cassyo: Vettel would have had to face the public dislike for interfering, in his country especially.
I disagree. Firstly, Rosberg is not exatly viewed as a real German. He is still popular, though. Vettel is a real racer and would have taken the 2ndd or win, if it was possible. He's racing for Ferrari, not some country. That said, I think his explanation makes perfect sense. He tried to pass Nico twice and was battled back. Trying harder would have endangered his 3rd and his opponents championship.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.