Sebastian Vettel has paid tribute to his fellow countryman Nico Rosberg for wrapping up a maiden F1 world title in Abu Dhabi and believes the Mercedes driver deserved the crown overall despite murmurs of Lewis Hamilton's unreliable car playing a pivotal role.
The Ferrari driver was bearing down on Rosberg during the final six laps of the 2016 season finale with Hamilton backing up his F1 title rival but the Mercedes driver held his nerve and vitally his position to finish second and claim a first F1 world championship.
Vettel has applauded Rosberg's achievement and feels it was fully deserved having finished where he needed to over the final four races. Despite Hamilton winning the last four races in 2016, Rosberg knew he only needed to finish directly behind his Mercedes team-mate to secure a first world title.
The Ferrari driver has also dismissed the idea of Hamilton's mechanical woes enabling Rosberg to win the title by explaining it all evens out over a 21-race calendar.
“Congratulations to Nico it was tough in the last couple of laps. I didn't want to be in his shoes,” Vettel said. “I was trying to get close and have another go because I was thinking to, why not pass both of them, if Lewis is going that slow in front? But it was difficult because my tyres were also dropping more to the end.
“You don't win the Championship by luck. Nico won the Championship today. He's a deserved champion. You collect a lot of points throughout the season, sometimes you might have, yeah, fortunate situations, unfortunate situations with your car but I think there's been other situations in the past with other drivers, that's the way it goes.
“Sometimes you have better years in this regard, sometimes worse years but I think today is Nico's day and it's a sign of respect and greatness to give him that. I think we owe it to him, he's a deserved champion.”
Rosberg became just the third German to win an F1 world title after Vettel and Michael Schumacher and the 33rd different driver to win an F1 world championship in history.
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