Lewis Hamilton has said that Fernando Alonso deserves to win the 2012 F1 title, despite the Ferrari now losing his championship lead in Korea.
Hamilton saw his own slim hopes take a huge hit in Yeongam after he was only to able to bring his car home in tenth spot, leaving him 62 points behind new leader Sebastian Vettel with just 100 left to fight for.
Alonso by contrast is now six points behind Vettel in the standings having led the way for much of the year, and Hamilton said he felt his former team-mate had done enough already to deserve the title.
"I feel like Fernando has deserved it throughout the year," he was quoted by ESPNF1
. "His team haven't made one mistake. He hasn't always been the fastest but he has been up there. He has driven like the champion he is all year and I feel as though he is a three-time world champion.
“Red Bull have been more up and down but they have still done a great job. They have won the last three races."
With his own title hopes now virtually over, Hamilton would appear to have little to race for in his final four outings for McLaren before he switches to Mercedes for 2013, but he said he remained fully motivated towards winning as many of the remaining races as possible.
"I've never been distracted once this year,” he said. “I'm still 100 per cent in this team to the last minute.
“People will continue to say that there is a rift between me and Jenson but there honestly is no issue between us. I have been part of this team for so many years and have a great relationship. I think I am loved as much as I love the team.
“I hope it is possible to get a podium in the last four races but we weren't quick enough in Korea."