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Max Verstappen says he agrees with Lewis Hamilton's race tactics to try to back up F1 world title rival Nico Rosberg into the charging pack in the championship decider.
The Red Bull driver recovered from a first lap spin after contact with Nico Hulkenberg to rip through the field by switching to a one-stop strategy.
That enabled him to move as high as second at one stage but as his tyres gave up on his long second stint to the chequered flag he conceded places to Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel to finish fourth.
Despite missing out, Verstappen only finished 1.6s off Hamilton after the British driver backed Rosberg into Vettel and the Red Bulls, with Hamilton needing to win in Abu Dhabi and see Rosberg finish off the podium to claim the 2016 crown.
Verstappen gave credit to Hamilton's attempts to win the title and went as far as to say he would have copied the Brit's 'dirty tricks' with a world championship within reach.
“I think Lewis was trying to back us up, and I probably would have done the same, you have to try these things to win a championship,” Verstappen said. “When you still finish in front of guys who did an extra stop you have to be pleased with the result, especially as we also finished so close to P1.”
Verstappen also says he holds no grudge against Hulkenberg for his part in tapping the Red Bull driver into a spin on the first lap, dropping him from sixth to last place, and put it down to a racing incident despite it hitting his hopes of a potential podium and fourth place in the F1 drivers' championship.
“It was an unfortunate tap at the start which caused the spin, it was just a racing incident though and these things happen,” he said. “I am very pleased with my result and how that race went. After being last after turn 1, having to fight my way back and doing it all on a one-stop was the best we could do and I am happy we pulled it off.
“I knew I was going to come under attack from the two-stop guys as they obviously had more life left in the tyres, I don't think I could have held Seb off at the end.
“It is very nice to finish the season fifth in the championship and to have had some really good results along the way. After yesterday I wasn't too happy, so now we finish it on a high.
“It has been a special season for me this year and I am really excited to get next year underway and hopefully bring more success.”
Verstappen finishes the F1 world championship in fifth place, eight points behind Vettel, having notched up a maiden F1 race win in Spain followed by six further rostrum results.
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