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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TeamPoints
1Mercedes161
2Ferrari153
3Red Bull72
4Force India53
5Toro Rosso21
6Williams-Mercedes18
7Renault14
8Haas9
9Sauber4
10McLaren0
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari104
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes98
3Valtteri BottasMercedes63
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari49
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull37
6Max VerstappenRed Bull35
7Sergio PerezForce India34
8Esteban OconForce India19
9Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes18
10Carlos SainzToro Rosso17
11Nico HulkenbergRenault14
12Romain GrosjeanHaas5
13Kevin MagnussenHaas4
14Pascal WehrleinSauber4
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
16Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes0
17Marcus EricssonSauber0
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
20Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0