Niki Lauda: 'Abu Dhabi showed Nico Rosberg the right champion'

Nico Rosberg disintegrates after winning the Australian Grand Prix on March 20, 2016
© Getty Images
Niki Lauda says that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was proof in itself that Nico Rosberg deserves the 2016 world championship.

Niki Lauda has said that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was proof in itself that Nico Rosberg deserves the 2016 world championship.

As the controversy about Lewis Hamilton's 'backing up' tactics continues, Mercedes's team chairman said how the Briton and German Rosberg handled it is crucial to interpreting the outcome of their title battle.

"If Lewis had gone out the front and left everyone behind, everyone would have said 'That was the real world champion', " the triple world champion and F1 legend is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

"But he put Nico on a pedestal that was as high as if he had won the race. Nico defended madly under enormous pressure.

"We offered to him that Vettel could pass him, because third place would have been enough. But Nico decided to fight. He showed that he is the right world champion."

Rosberg ended the championship with 385 points to Hamilton's 380.

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes walks in the paddock during previews to the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 12, 2016
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1Ferrari37
2Mercedes33
3Red Bull10
4Williams-Mercedes8
5Force India7
6Toro Rosso6
7Haas0
8Renault0
9Sauber0
10McLaren0
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari25
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes18
3Valtteri BottasMercedes15
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari12
5Max VerstappenRed Bull10
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes8
7Sergio PerezForce India6
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso4
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso2
10Esteban OconForce India1
11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
12Daniel RicciardoRed Bull0
13Romain GrosjeanHaas0
14Nico HulkenbergRenault0
15Kevin MagnussenHaas0
16Marcus EricssonSauber0
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
18Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
19Jolyon PalmerRenault0
20Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes0