Sebastian Vettel: Lewis Hamilton deserved to win 2017 drivers' title
Vettel and Hamilton collide on Lap One but German says: "It's more important what Lewis has done. He deserves to win the title."
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 16/11/17 12:23pm
A despondent but gracious Sebastian Vettel has admitted that Lewis Hamilton deserved to beat him to the 2017 drivers' title.
Hamilton joined Vettel on four F1 world championships after a chaotic Mexican GP - an epic finale to a championship battle that has ebbed and flowed throughout 2017.
It was also a race that provided more on-track contact between the pair, with the pole-sitting Vettel shunting into the back of Hamilton's Mercedes at the exit of Turn Two in contact that forced both drivers into early pit-stops.
But while the Ferrari driver said that while the collision and his subsequent fourth-place finish was "disappointing", he conceded: "It's not that important what we have done today.
"It's more important what Lewis has done and he's done a superb job all year round and deserves to win the title.
"Congratulations to him. It's not about anybody else today. It's about him. It's his day."
Vettel needed to finish second at the very least to have any chance of taking the title fight to Brazil, but what seemed unlikely was soon a near-impossible task as he dropped to 18th following his early stop due to front wing damage.
The German made up 14 places and his drive included some stunning overtakes, but in the end he was made to pay for yet another 2017 collision - his first with Hamilton since the Azerbaijan GP in June.
Indeed, the multi world champions' relationship appears to have turned sour since that point with Hamilton asking his Mercedes team "did he deliberately hit me?" after sustaining the first-lap right-rear puncture on Sunday.
But there was a sign of the early-2017 respect between the drivers in the media pen after Hamilton's ninth-place finish, with Vettel embracing and congratulating the Englishman on his title triumph.
"I don't fear him," Vettel added. "I like racing with him but I would have liked a little bit more of that this year.
"Overall they were just the better bunch."