OCTOBER 24, 2016
Ecclestone defends comments about Rosberg
Bernie Ecclestone has defended his claim that Lewis Hamilton would make a better winner of the 2016 world championship.
Notwithstanding Hamilton's win from pole in Austin, it is German Rosberg who is still much more likely to manage his now 26-point advantage to the finale in Abu Dhabi.
However, F1 supremo Ecclestone told British reporters at the US grand prix that he hopes Hamilton wins a third title on the trot because "there is nothing to write about" Rosberg.
Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda slammed Ecclestone's view, insisting it is "very unfair" on Rosberg "especially at such a crucial stage of the world championship".
But when confronted with his quotes by the German newspaper Bild, Ecclestone said the reporting of what he said had lacked context.
The 85-year-old said: "It's a pity this newspaper wrote only half of what I said.
"I have nothing against Nico. He's an excellent driver but Lewis is a great ambassador for formula one around the world.
"Rosberg would be a worthy champion, because he's done a good job and got the most points. But look at the job Lewis does outside of the track.
"He goes on talk shows, red carpets, he carries the formula one brand everywhere in the world. For formula one and for me as a promoter, there is no one better," Ecclestone said.
Indeed, Hamilton had the celebrity factor in full force in Austin, having invited Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, tennis star Venus Williams and skiier Lindsey Vonn to the US grand prix.
Ecclestone said: "I mean it when I say that Lewis is the best champion we have ever had."
But even with the diminutive Briton's explanation, F1 legend Lauda said he remains upset with what Ecclestone said about Rosberg.
"It would be better if he keeps it to himself," said the great Austrian, "or if that's what he thinks then say it after the season. But to say it now is unfair to Nico."