Sebastian Vettel admits that he had a very lonely Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as Mercedes dominated proceedings in the desert. In qualifying, it was clear Mercedes had a pace advantage over Ferrari as Vettel was out-qualified by over half a second.
In the race, the German failed to put a challenge to the Silver Arrows, who streaked away in the early stages. At the end of the Grand Prix, race-winner Valtteri Bottas crossed the line over 20 seconds ahead of Vettel, who settled for third place.
"In the beginning I tried very hard, I think I had a good start but [there was] nowhere to go," he said. "I locked up and flat-spotted the first set of tyres a tiny bit. Then after three, four, five laps I just couldn't go any faster and they seemed to pull away and from there onwards it was a bit lonely.
"But after that, I have to say in the second stint I really got into the rhythm and I think we had stronger pace in the second half of the race but not good enough to match those two guys."
Vettel was in the championship hunt for much of the season but a series of mishaps in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan saw him drop out of contention, with Lewis Hamilton wrapping up the title in Mexico. Vettel stated that the Briton deserved to win the championship.
"As to Valtteri, I'm very happy for him, and again, very much congratulations to Lewis for this season," he added. "He deserved to win the championship this season and, I hate to say it, he was the better man. So, I'm sure we'll do our bit over the winter and hopefully come back stronger."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing