'I would have done the same as Lewis,' says Carlos Sainz

© XPB 

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz says that had he been in Lewis Hamilton's shoes last Sunday, he would have resorted to the same backing-up tactic employed by the Mercedes driver to try and secure the title.

Hamilton's attitude in the closing stages of the race has lit up a furry of controversy and debate among F1 fans.

The Brit deliberately slowed his pace at the head of the field - up to nine seconds slower than his pole time - in an attempt to back his rival and team mate Nico Rosberg into the clutches of both Sebastian Vettel and max Verstappen. In the process, he also ignored two direct calls from the Mercedes pit wall to pick up the pace.

The ploy failed, but Sainz perfectly understands why Hamilton did it.

"I would do it," Sainz admitted.

"When you are a winner and you want to win a world title, you always have to try everything you can - always inside the rules, like he did.

"In the end he did nothing outside of the rules, so I support Lewis's decision.

"To do what he did even more exaggerated could have been a bit too much, but I think he did exactly what he needed to do, also to put a bit of pressure on Nico and to see how he could handle it."

Rosberg handled the pressure flawlessly but admitted after the race that he didn't expect his team mate to back him up. He did however acknowledge the tactic's legitimacy.

"It’s about the world championship so you can understand he wanted to try whatever it was possible to do," Rosberg told BBC's radio 5 Live.

"He did a really good job of it. He did it perfectly because I had no chance to try to overtake."

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Quotes of the week

DRIVER RATINGS: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

OPINION: A worthy champion

Jenson Button's F1 career: 17 seasons, 15 wins

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter