After playing his part in one of the most dramatic conclusions to a Formula One title race ever seen, Sebastian Vettel said he wasn't even aware that he was playing a key role in deciding whether Lewis Hamilton or Felipe Massa would secure the 2008 crown.

Running a different strategy to the cars around him, Vettel ran as high as second early in the race but found himself fifth in the closing stages behind champion-elect Hamilton.

A late rain shower however saw the leading drivers all pit, with the exception of Timo Glock who jumped ahead of both Hamilton and Vettel, who then started squabbling over fifth place.

With Hamilton needing to finish in the position to secure the drivers' title, the Briton was forced to defend from Vettel's Toro Rosso but when Hamilton ran slightly wide, Vettel swept through to take the place and looked like handing the title to Massa, who was on his way to a dominant win.

However, the race had one final twist as both Vettel and Hamilton were able to catch and pass Glock on the final lap and while that saw Hamilton claim the crown, Vettel admitted he had no idea that his pass a matter of laps earlier could have had a major influence on the championship fight.

"It was a difficult and chaotic race and it's great to end the season on a high with this fourth place," he said. "I didn't make any mistakes and I feel we deserved this result, even if I was hoping for a podium. It was great to be racing against Massa, Alonso and Hamilton. Great fun!

"Towards the end, I was concentrating on staying on the track and I didn't know where I was in terms of position and I just tried to pass Lewis like any other guy and I succeeded. I passed Timo just at the last corner, as he was struggling on dry tyres. Lewis was behind me at that moment, but as I wasn't sure where I was after the final pit stop for rain tyres, I was definitely not aware that I might be influencing the world championship.

"It was hard to know who was a backmarker or not and as it got darker and darker it was even difficult to know who the cars in front of you were. The important thing is that I scored five points. It's been a fantastic season."