Red Bull boss doesn’t think Lewis Hamilton did anything wrong

Christian Horner seen on pit wall during the Brazilian Grand Prix. (Photo: Charles Coates/LAT Photographic)

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says Lewis Hamilton’s backing-up tactics in Abu Dhabi were inevitable given the World Championship situation.

Horner had predicted before the race that Hamilton’s only chance of making life difficult for Nico Rosberg was to slow him down.

“I wouldn’t have expected him to do anything different,” said Horner. “He played completely within the rules, winning the race wasn’t going to be enough for him, he needed cars between him, and if he’d have charged off into the distance that wouldn’t have created that possibility. He won the race as slowly as he could.

“It’s only like in a football game where a team might protect from the opposition by kicking the ball around and not enabling the opposition to get hold of the ball. I didn’t see that he did anything wrong. There’s only two drivers competing for the World Championship, it was totally obvious that he was going to do that.”

Asked about the frustration of the Mercedes management, he said: “You couldn’t expect anything different. They’re racing for a World Championship, the drivers’ World Championship. There’s only two guys in it, and they’re both in the same car. Lewis, winning the race was never going to be enough for him, and he drove a tactical race.

“He didn’t do anything dirty, he didn’t do anything against the rules. I think it would be unfair to criticize Lewis for the way that he drove. It was obvious coming into the weekend that was his only chance of achieving what he wanted. I think it would be unfair to criticize it.

“Where they were at, it was just down to those two guys. It was only ever going to be that kind of battle between the two of them. It was naive to think that there would be any different approach to this race with what’s at stake.”