Even though he won the final race of the year, Lewis Hamilton was unable to clinch the championship, despite attempting to back Nico Rosberg up into Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstapppen. The Brit received quite a few questions afterwards on his racing tactics.
After retaining the lead from pole at the start of the race, there was little more to do for Lewis Hamilton but to hope that two cars would be able to overtake Nico Rosberg before the end of the race, as that would be the only possibility for him to take the championship title for the third consecutive time.
When after the first stop, Rosberg fell behind Verstappen, Hamilton was unsure what to think about the situation.
"I think that that point I didn’t really know… I didn’t have a lot of information from the team in terms of what I was supposed to do so I pushed a little bit, got a little bit of a gap. I was obviously just take care of my race – but I didn’t know if I needed a ten second lead or less. So, I just tried to look after my tyres and get to my target, which I did. And then I saw that Nico had passed and picked up his pace which was good, and at that point I tried to pick up my pace also."
Having done what's necessary, and keeping the lead throughout, Hamilton decided to slow down, allowing Vettel and Verstappen to get closer, and back into the fight with Nico Rosberg.
7 laps from the end, Hamilton was "commanded" by Mercedes' Paddy Lowe to up the pace, as he was risking his race victory. Hamilton however replied "I'm in the lead, no worries".
Afterwards, Hamilton confirmed there was no stress for him at the point.
"It wasn’t really intense to be honest. It was pretty chilled at the end", Hamilton said.
"There was not much… maybe intense for you but it wasn’t intense for me. No. For me it’s… I’m in a position where I’ve obviously had a lot of points lost during the season so for me, I’m out there fighting.
"I don’t think I did anything dangerous today. So, I don’t feel I did anything unfair. We’re fighting for a championship, I was in the lead, I control the pace. That’s the rules.
"I generally never try to do anything to harm the team or the brand or anything like that. But we’ve won the Constructors’ Championship so it was down to me and Nico today. And however, they still felt they needed to make comments and so… well, y’know, we’ll discuss it afterwards as we always do as a team and pull back in. But we can’t let that overshadow the fact that Nico’s just won a Championship and the team has dominated all year long, we’d had more wins than any other team I think in the past maybe. So, we cannot ignore that fact that it’s been an incredibly successful year."
Even despite the order during the race, Paddy Lowe, Mercedes' technical head agreed after the race that Hamilton had done nothing wrong, and that it was within his right to drive as he wanted, especially given that the team had declared beforehand that their drivers were completely free to race.
Mercedes AMG F1 had already comfortably secured the Constructors' Championship earlier on.