Sebastian Vettel congratulated Lewis Hamilton after his drivers’ championship victory and says he wants the five-time world champion at his best for another battle in 2019.
Hamilton secured fourth place in the Mexican Grand Prix to wrap up his fifth title, while Vettel’s second-place finish fell short as he needed a win to stand any chance of staying in contention.
Immediately after the race the German went to speak to Hamilton to praise him for his achievement.
“I congratulated him and I think he drove superb all year,” Vettel said. “It was going to be one of us two, so I told him it was well deserved and to enjoy it, I told him number five is something incredible. So it was mainly congratulating him and to keep pushing for next year because I want him at his best to fight him again.”
Despite his sportsmanship at the end of this year’s championship battle, Vettel admits it is tough to take now that his hopes are mathematically ended.
“It’s a horrible moment. You put a lot of work in but I take your point that we could have saw it coming. But I didn’t pay attention in maths so I didn’t check the numbers, and you try to hang in there as long as you can. I have had it three times now in my life, but there is still disappointment on the day you realize you can’t win the championship any more.
“Those are not happy days and you have to reflect not on one moment but the whole year of work and effort that goes in, from the end of last year until now. We had our chances, we used most of them but some we did not. In the end it wasn’t enough.
“I don’t want to put too much emphasis on today because you could see it coming but for sure it’s different. I focus on my car and obviously it’s what you work for the whole year and when it’s no longer in your control then it’s not a great moment.
“I think it’s normal as well to have that moment of disappointment when you are a bit down but I will be as strong as I can be in two weeks’ time heading to Brazil and do everything I can, because that’s what my team deserves and what the guys back at Maranello deserve and all the people that have supported me and the whole team.
“For now I am not the happiest guy, but in two weeks’ time I will step into the car I always dreamed of driving and there is plenty to be happy about.”