Lewis Hamilton: Car failures cost me World Championship

Lewis Hamilton at the European Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton had an error-strewn qualifying at the European Grand Prix in Baku, describing it as "probably the worst session I've ever had"

Lewis Hamilton says car failures were the only reason he lost his world title to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The Briton had three engine failures over the season, which impacted on his points total, while Rosberg had none.

Hamilton won Sunday's season-ending race in Abu Dhabi but the German was second - sealing the championship.

"I did everything I could, particularly towards the end. Nico had a clean year without any real issues and that's why we sit in this position," he said.

"But he did a fantastic job, so big congratulations to him."

Hamilton, 31, had two identical problems with the hybrid system that meant he started down the grid in early-season races in China and Russia, and the replacement parts used in the repairs led to a grid penalty that meant he had to start at the back at the Belgian Grand Prix later in the year.

He then had an engine failure while leading the Malaysian Grand Prix in September, which turned what would have been a small lead in the championship over Mercedes team-mate Rosberg into a 23-point deficit with five races to go.

"I was generally quickest most of the year, so it's definitely been a positive, a lot of positives to take from it. So I take that into next season," Hamilton said.

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Nico Rosberg: Is Mercedes driver a worthy F1 world champion?

By contrast, 31-year-old Rosberg only suffered one technical problem in a race, which dropped him from second to third at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Hamilton decided to drive deliberately slowly in Abu Dhabi in an attempt to back Rosberg into other drivers and demote the German below the third place he needed to clinch the title.

He repeatedly ignored orders to speed up from the team, and said he made no apologies for his actions.

Title wins by nationality
German drivers have now won 12 F1 world drivers' titles

"I'm in a position where I've obviously had a lot of points lost during the season so, for me, I'm out there fighting and I generally never try to do anything to harm the team or the brand or anything like that.

"But we've won the constructors' championship so it was down to me and Nico and yet they still felt they needed to make comments.

"We'll discuss it afterwards as a team as we always do and pull back in. But we can't let that overshadow the fact Nico's just won a championship and the team has dominated all year long. It's been an incredibly successful year."

Lewis Hamilton during the Malaysian Grand Prix
Hamilton said after Malaysia: "Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me."

Rosberg said there had been two defining moments in his success this year - one was losing the 2015 championship to Hamilton with three races to go in the US and the other was his decision while winning the first four races of this season to focus hard only on each individual weekend and not address the championship at all in public.

"Austin was a horrible experience for me and I really spent two days just on my own thinking and I said I didn't ever want to experience that again," said the German.

"And then I went and won the next seven races on the trot. It was a big moment for me and one of the key moments in being here today."

He added: "(Mental strength) is a key ingredient. It's continual. It's just my approach I have taken for myself.

"Everybody does it his own way. For me that feels best and I've really learned to focus hard. It takes a lot of sacrifice to stay so focused during a whole year."

He added that he had not decided whether to use the number one on his car next year, as is his right as world champion.

The stats

2016 F1 tale of the tape
How Rosberg and Hamilton matched up in 2016
Rosberg and Hamilton finishes
Hamilton won ten races this season and Rosberg only won nine, yet still won the Championship
Formula 1
Rosberg may have had the better of the reliability this season, leading some to say he does not deserve his title, but it has not always been that way
Longest wait for F1 title
Longest wait for an F1 title: Mr Rosberg slots nicely into second here: with a 10-year wait over 206 races. Source: Forix
fastets laps
hamilton transport

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix results

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