Rosberg drive worthy of a "great champion" - Mercedes

Mercedes chiefs have praised the job that Nico Rosberg did to hold his cool in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying it was the drive of a "great champion".

Although Rosberg's title success was overshadowed by teammate Lewis Hamilton's defiance of team orders, his bosses Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff say they are full of admiration for the job the German did not to trip up during an intense season finale.

For as well as coping with Hamilton's tactics to back him up into the field, Rosberg pulled off a sensational overtaking move on Max Verstappen to recover a position he had lost in the pitstops.

And both Lowe and Wolff are in agreement that Rosberg's season-long resilience and ability to cope with pressure have made him a more than worthy champion.

Lowe said: "Many people can win a race but a championship is about that endurance. This is the longest season in the history of the sport. Nothing sums it up better than [Abu Dhabi].

"To hold your nerve. Nico was squeezed from the front and the back. There was a very crucial overtake he had to make on Max knowing if he lost the car it would be all over. Holding his nerve through all of that: these are the marks of a great champion."

Reliability factor

Hamilton said after the race that his championship was derailed by reliability problems, which included engine failures in qualifying earlier in the campaign and that blow-up in Malaysia.

For Wolff, while accepting that the Sepang failure ultimately proved decisive, he also believes that Rosberg deserves credit for the way he approached the campaign.

"You need to win and to lose with dignity," he said when asked about Hamilton's remarks about reliability. "This is a mechanical sport. If they sat on the floor on the starting grid they wouldn't go far.

"This team has built them the best car over the last three years and has made them win races and championships. This team has let them down on occasions – less occasions letting them down than the ones they can celebrate. This year, clearly Malaysia cost him the championship. It's clear.

"But on the other side, we've been [talking only about] Lewis and this situation without recognising Nico and his achievements.

"Racing against the most talented driver as a teammate and winning a world championship and making it close the years before is quite an achievement.

"I think we should honour that, because he is a tough cookie and he doesn't let go. There are quite some remarkable character traits about him that make him a world champion and a worthy world champion."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Abu Dhabi GP
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Drivers Nico Rosberg
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news