Max Verstappen said he “probably would have done the same” if he were in Lewis Hamilton’s position fighting for the world championship, after the Mercedes driver drove slowly to back the pack-up and ensure team-mate Nico Rosberg’s drive to the title was as difficult as possible.
Verstappen, who went on to finish fourth despite finding himself down in last place come Turn 2 after contact with Nico Hulkenberg, described his result as the ‘best he could do’ under the circumstances.
“I am very pleased with my result and how that race went,” said the Dutchman. “After being last after Turn 1, having to fight my way back and doing it all on a one-stop was the best we could do and I am happy we pulled it off.
“I knew I was going to come under attack from the two-stop guys as they obviously had more life left in the tyres, I don’t think I could have held Seb off at the end. When you still finish in front of guys who did an extra stop you have to be pleased with the result, especially as we also finished so close to P1.”
Verstappen refused to blame anyone in the clash, insisting it was just one of those incidents.
“It was an unfortunate tap at the start which caused the spin, it was just a racing incident though and these things happen.”
The Red Bull driver admitted he “probably” would have employed the same tactic of backing up the pack to aid his championship hopes if he were in Hamilton’s position.
“I think Lewis was trying to back us up, and I probably would have done the same, you have to try these things to win a championship.
“It is very nice to finish the season fifth in the championship and to have had some really good results along the way. After yesterday I wasn’t too happy, so now we finish it on a high. It has been a special season for me this year and I am really excited to get next year underway and hopefully bring more success.”