Lewis Hamilton could face disciplinary action from Mercedes after he ignored team orders at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Despite winning for a fourth consecutive race, Hamilton ended his title defence five points short of Nico Rosberg, who emulated his father Keke, the 1982 champion, by securing his maiden world crown.
Hamilton, 31, arrived in Abu Dhabi knowing that another victory might not be enough for him to become the first British driver to win four titles, and so it proved as Rosberg crossed the line in second place having needed to finish in the top three.
But the title battle hung in the balance until the closing stages of the race as Hamilton desperately attempted to back his Mercedes team-mate into the clutches of the chasing pack.
A number of demands from the Mercedes pit wall for Hamilton to improve his pace, so that Rosberg would not be vulnerable to both Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel, fell on deaf ears. A special request from Paddy Lowe, the team’s technical boss, was also rebuffed.
“Let us race,” Hamilton said over the team radio, before adding: “I am losing the world championship so right now I don’t really care whether I win or lose this race.”
Sebastian Vettel, who nearly passed Rosberg on the final lap, added fuel to the fire after he accused Hamilton of “playing dirty tricks”.
Rosberg’s joy: Page 9.