Sebastian Vettel sought Lewis Hamilton out after the Mexican Grand Prix to congratulate the Briton on a "well deserved" title. Hamilton won the championship on Sunday despite a tough race in which he crossed the line in fourth.
Vettel came home in second place but it wasn't enough to keep his title hopes alive heading to Brazil. The German conceded that Hamilton was the better driver throughout the season and even ended his post-race interview early to shake hands with the new five-time world champion.
"I congratulated him," he stated. "I think he drove superb all year and was the better one of us two, I told him well deserved. Number five is something incredible, congratulated him and asked him to keep pushing for next year, I need him at his best to keep fighting again."
When asked what it felt like to realise the championship was no longer in his control, Vettel replied: "It’s a horrible moment. You put a lot of work in and okay I get your point your saw it coming, I did pay attention in maths, but still you hang in there as long as you can.
"I had three times now in my life that sort of disappointment, in one day you realise you can’t win the championship anymore an those are not happy days. You reflect on not one moment but the whole year, the work that goes in, the effort that goes in from the end of last year to now, we had our chances, we used most of them, but in the end, we were not good enough."
Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) October 28, 2018
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing