Sebastian Vettel felt he did all he could to try and take the World Drivers’ Championship battle to Lewis Hamilton onto another race at the Circuit of the Americas, but was disappointed to finish third to give his rival the title.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver moved up from thirteenth on the grid to third at the chequered flag, but his third place finish coupled with Hamilton’s COTA victory meant Vettel lost the chance to add to his four championship triumphs.
Vettel admitted the race at COTA was great, and even had thoughts about winning the race before the interruption of the second safety car following Daniil Kvyat’s crash, with the German thanking his team for all their efforts.
“We tried to spoil Lewis’ party today!” revealed Vettel. “In the end maybe I should have taken more of a risk with Nico [Rosberg], but it was not possible. It is a shame, but let’s not forget where we started this year.
“Today it was another great race, a great recovery and the car was fantastic. I think you can’t ask for more if you start from P13. A good first lap helped a lot and after that we had the pace, especially changing to the dry tires in mixed conditions.
“We seemed to fly for a few laps, a couple of seconds quicker than everybody else. Maybe without the last safety car we could have won the race: but if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts… It was a difficult race and we managed it very well.
“I can only say “grazie tante” to everybody on track and in the factory. So on one hand we are happy, but it is not a nice feeling when you are out of the fight. For the next year this gives us a boost, trying to do make progress. Hopefully we will give them a bigger challenge.”