Lewis Hamilton insists he did nothing wrong during the closing laps in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he slowed the pace to make life difficult for title-rival Nico Rosberg.
The defending three-time world champion won, but his Mercedes teammate Rosberg finished second under intense pressure to claim the championship.
“I don’t think I did anything dangerous, I don’t think I did anything unfair,” said Hamilton.
“We were fighting for the championship, I was in the lead so I control the pace…. That is the rules.”
Hamilton twice ignored team instructions to pick up the pace, firstly from his race engineer and then from Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe, as he backed up the field to try and push Rosberg within reach of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Asked during a post-race news conference if he was annoyed by the team instructions, he said: “Not really. I don’t know why they didn’t just let us race.
“There was never a moment where I felt I was going to lose the race. It is a shame that it is quite clear their thought process … and I don’t have much to say to be honest.
“I was hoping he (Vettel) would close up, but his tyres were going off towards the end – and Nico drove well to not make mistakes.
“It was pretty chilled at the end. It may have been intense for you, but not intense for me.
“For me, I am in a position where I had a lot of points lost during the season so for me I am out there fighting and generally never try to do anything to harm the team or the brand.
“But we won the constructors’ championship so it was down to me and Nico today. However, they felt they still needed to make comments. We will discuss it afterwards as we always do.”
Hamilton had left his disappointment within minutes of the race and joked during one television interview that he was looking forward to being called in “to the headmaster’s office.”
“Yeh, I’m looking forward to it and I’ll go in there with a Tequila,” he said, as the Mercedes team party began all around him.
Hamilon needed to win and see Rosberg finish off the podium to retain his crown by winning a fourth championship.
He had seemed to be annoyed during the race when instructed to drive faster.
“Right now, I’m losing the world championship, so I’m not bothered if I win or lose this race,” he responded.
In the end, Hamilton’s tactics did not work and he lost the title by five points despite taking his 10th win of the year, the most by any driver not to be champion.
Hamilton added sincere praise for Rosberg and congratulations.
“He has done a fantastic job and it is a great feeling to win a championship – I don’t want to do or say anything to reduce that for Nico,” he said.
“I did everything I could,” added Hamilton. “Obviously, Nico had a very clean year without any real issues to be honest.
“That is why we sit in this position right now. He did a fantastic job, congratulations to him. It’s a great feeling to win the championship.”