Lewis Hamilton says he won’t try to slow Rosberg in Abu Dhabi

World Championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg pose for a photo before conducting a press conference during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on Nov. 24, 2016 in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton is adamant that he won’t try to make Nico Rosberg’s life harder in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi GP by deliberately slowing down his Mercedes teammate.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner had suggested that Hamilton’s best chance of pushing Rosberg down the finishing order would be to back him up and make him vulnerable to being passed by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

“In terms of tactics in the race, that has to come on Sunday,” said Hamilton. “I have to really think about that. But that’s not really ever been my thought process. If I’m out ahead I want to be generally as far ahead as possible. Generally when you have an 18-second, 30-second lead that’s as painful a blow as you can give to the guy you’re fighting.

“So, when you look at the last race, if we didn’t have red flags I would have been 30 seconds ahead and those scenarios for me, it’s more valuable, it’s more of an achievement than backing up your teammate. Plus here, while in theory it sounds like it makes a lot of sense, practically it’s not very practical to do. You have two long DRS zones here. Wouldn’t be very easy and very wise to do so. So, no.”

Meanwhile Hamilton insisted that it has been a positive season, despite the frustrations.

“It’s been a challenging season in terms of having the ups and downs that I’ve had but I think that I’ve really managed to strengthen. In terms of turning negatives into positives, this year has been a real challenge in terms of strengthening that tool and being able to do so. So I’m really proud of what I have achieved.

“There have been moments in the year where, 43 points behind, I thought it was impossible to come back but somehow turned it around. I’ve been 33 points behind and almost turned it around. So, I think this year has generally shown that, continued to show me that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it. I’ll keep the facing the races that are coming with that mentality.”

Asked to name his best and worst races of the year he said: “I don’t want to just discard the negative ones but I need a bit of help with the memory. Singapore. Baku as well – that wasn’t really might fault, I had a dodgy engine setting. I think it’s important for me definitely to try to remember the negative ones because those experiences are generally what help you realize, or appreciate more, the wins.

“If I look at Japan for example. Getting off the line terribly, there’s been several races like that, but regardless of those really bad starts I’ve always come back through with a fighting spirit, and that for me is something to be proud of when I finish the race. That I’ve given it everything, regardless of the stumble or the mistake at the beginning. One of my favorite races was Monaco, I think. In tough, tricky conditions in the rain in Monaco and then wet to dry, staying out ahead of Daniel was a serious challenge and one I really loved.”