• Abu Dhabi GP - Race

The best man won the title - Rosberg

ESPN Staff
November 23, 2014 « Hamilton: Second title the best day of my life | Hamilton's title win will ease Mercedes tension - Lauda »
Nico Rosberg acknowledges the applause of the Mercedes team at the post-race celebrations © Getty Images

Nico Rosberg labelled Lewis Hamilton a worthy world champion and played down the significance of the Energy Recovery System (ERS) issue which took him out of contention in Abu Dhabi.

Pole-sitter Rosberg knew his best chance of the title was winning the race with Hamilton finishing lower than third but he was beaten into the first corner by his fast-starting team-mate. He was still second on lap 25 when he started slowing with an ERS failure, meaning he was lacking 160 brake horsepower, as he dropped out of the top five - points he would have needed if Hamilton had suffered a race-ending issue.

But Hamilton stayed in control of the race and recorded the win; something which Rosberg says made his own race less significant.

"I'm very disappointed, the chance was there today and it was a special occasion but it didn't work out," said Rosberg, who eventually came home in 14th. "In the end my race didn't make a difference because Lewis won the title fair and square. I don't dwell too much on my issue because he deserved to win today and he deserved to win the championship, this year he was just that bit better so it's fully deserved. He's had an amazing year and did an amazing job, he was the best driver on the grid this year for sure.

"It was a great battle between us and that's what I race for, to go up against Lewis. It's very intense at times of course but most of the times fantastic. I'm very proud to be part of this moment with the team, it's been special and unbelievable having such a car."

When asked how long it would take to digest his defeat, Rosberg said: "It's going to take me a bit of time. But there's also a lot of strong points I can build on for next year."

Rosberg paid tribute to the fans, including the British contingent, for making his first experience of a title showdown weekend special.

"It's been an incredible experience for me this weekend, I've never had anything like it before. So much support from everybody, from fans around the world and even the British fans - I know the majority were for Lewis but it was so nice to see even after qualifying, everyone acknowledging and respectfully applauding. That was very nice and I'm very thankful for that."

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