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Magnanimous Rosberg hails Hamilton as "the best driver"

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Magnanimous Rosberg hails Hamilton as "the best driver"
Nov 24, 2014, 4:35 AM

Defeated world championship contender Nico Rosberg has admitted that the new world champion Lewis Hamilton was "that little bit better" this season...

Defeated world championship contender Nico Rosberg has admitted that the new world champion Lewis Hamilton was "that little bit better" this season and congratulated him on his win.

The 29 year old German, who won five races to Hamilton's 11, but beat him in qualifying with 11 poles to Hamilton's seven, went to find Hamilton in the cool down room after the race to congratulate him. The pair have had some tense moments this year, particularly after qualifying in Monaco and after the collision in Spa, for which Rosberg was blamed by the team.

Rosberg's race in Abu Dhabi was blighted by a poor getaway from pole and then a problem with his ERS system.

"In the end my race didn't make a difference because Lewis won fair and square anyway," said Rosberg. "I won't dwell on my issue today - he deserved to win today and he deserved to win the championship.

"He was this year that little bit better so it is fully deserved. He was the best driver on the grid this year.

"It was a great battle between us, and that's what I race for. It was a very intense time of course, but also fantastic. Having such a strong car has been unbelievable."

Hamilton, Rosberg

Hamilton paid tribute to Rosberg as an adversary, while recognising that his own championship challenge really came alive after the collision at Spa; from that point onwards Hamilton won six of seven races.

"It’s been so intense between us all year long. There’s been good moments and bad moments. Without a doubt we’ve had a friendship or a relationship that we built a long, long, long time ago, so that will always be there. He was a very, very fierce competitor this year, he did an exceptional job. He’s going to be quick for a long time. I’ve got to pick up my qualifying pace for next year. It could have been either one of us today.

"Spa was a low moment. It was a very difficult scenario to be in and going back years ago, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did this year. I would have chosen another way which wouldn’t have been a positive and I guess with age, as I said, and just maturing and having a different perspective on life, I think I handled it a different way, I really thought for the following days and really turned my focus to a different area. I came back to the next races with a slightly different approach

"I wouldn’t change the season, the way it’s gone, for anything really because I’ve learnt a lot. If anything, I felt very, very strong with the way I came out of the good and the bad."

For all the polite words there is no doubt that those two incidents left their mark on both men and next year it will be interesting to see what tactic Rosberg employs to try to gain the psychological upper hand on Hamilton.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now