Niki Lauda has questioned Lewis Hamilton’s backing up tactics in Abu Dhabi, saying that the Briton had no chance of pushing Nico Rosberg back to fourth place.
Appearing post-race on Channel 4, Lauda - who won the 1984 title by finishing second to main rival Alain Prost in the season finale - was asked if he would have done the same as Hamilton in a championship battle.
"I tell you, honestly if I think about it now, not to annoy my team colleague, honestly," he said. "We did all the tricks in the past, but there was still a simple respect for the other one.
"Nico did a great job the whole season, he had 12 points in advance, so to push him all the way back to fourth would never have happened.
"With Nico I really congratulate him, because the first championship is the biggest hard work ever, and therefore it's fantastic for us."
While Lauda said he "understood" Hamilton's ploy from a racing driver's perspective, he said that the priority should have been ensuring Mercedes won the race in the "most secure way" when under threat from Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in the closing stages.
"I understand Lewis's action," said the Austrian. "On the other hand, there's a team effort.
"Mercedes has to win, in the most secure way, these races. In the end it was only exciting, but not secure. So in the end we gave him an order, speed up. He said, 'Leave me alone. I'm racing,' which is a funny quote, by the way."