NOVEMBER 27, 2016
Hamilton can back up Rosberg says Berger
F1 legend Gerhard Berger says he can imagine Lewis Hamilton deploying every tactic to win the world championship on Sunday.
Berger is actually in the Nico Rosberg camp, having negotiated the German's new Mercedes deal earlier this year.
He says it is nonsense that some are saying Rosberg would not be a deserving champion, due to Hamilton's late form in 2016 after technical troubles.
"There will be none of this crowing in a few weeks," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "World champion is world champion.
"If second place (in the Abu Dhabi race for Rosberg) is enough, then second place is enough."
Berger, however, ruled out a scenario where Rosberg could take advantage of his points lead and 'take out' Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, like his former teammate Ayrton Senna did to Alain Prost in 1990.
What he can imagine, however, is Hamilton backing Rosberg into the chasing pack, in the hope of getting him mixed up in a fight with the Red Bulls and Ferraris and finishing lower than third.
"Every driver in Hamilton's situation would do that," Berger said. "It is perfectly legitimate in such a situation that a driver does everything to optimise his chances."
Indeed, even Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hinted that he can imagine the 'backing up' scenario.
"We let them go," he insisted.
"Nico and Lewis know what we expect in terms of fairness, but we also know what is at stake.
"As long as there are no boundaries crossed in terms of what is sporting, we have no problems with it," said Wolff.
Berger, meanwhile, acknowledged that the real pressure is on Rosberg on Sunday.
"Hamilton is already a three times champion with nothing to lose in this race," he said. "But Nico must win this title, because in formula one, you never know if you will ever get another chance again."