I would have done the same as Hamilton, says Villeneuve

Lewis Hamilton held up teammate Nico Rosberg in the closing laps of the Abu Dhabi GP (L); Jacques Villeneuve won the title in 1997 (R). (Photos: Getty Images)
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Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve says that Lewis Hamilton did nothing wrong in Abu Dhabi, and insists that he would have adopted the same tactics.

Villeneuve, who was involved in title showdowns in both 1996 and 1997, believes that Mercedes should not have tried to intervene when Hamilton slowed down teammate Nico Rosberg.

“It was a great race, Lewis did what he could, was never dirty,” said Villeneuve. “The only shame is the messages from his team. That doesn’t come out too well, because Lewis didn’t do anything dirty, he played with what he had. So that was fine, and there was nothing to lose for Mercedes. They both played well.”

Asked if he would have done the same against Williams teammate Damon Hill 20 years ago, he said: “Probably even more! In the last race when your team cannot lose the championship any more, there’s no more team. This is the one time of the year when the team has to take a back seat, and just live with it.”

Villeneuve added that Rosberg is a worthy World Champion.

“Definitely, and Lewis made sure that he was worthy. The way Nico attacked the end of the season, he didn’t go for the wins as much, so it was different. Lewis just work up a bit too late, that’s what cost him this year. He realized halfway through the season that actually Nico is quick, Nico is a competitor. But just a little bit too late.”