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.