Sebastian Vettel says he “tried everything” to beat 2018 Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to victory in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel passed the struggling Valtteri Bottas for second place at mid-distance and set about hunting down race-leader Hamilton, who had made his pit stop much earlier than the Ferrari driver.

The German, who missed out on the 2018 crown two races ago in Mexico, reduced Hamilton’s lead in the closing stages but the Mercedes driver held on to record his 11th victory of the season.

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“I tried everything until the last lap, I really enjoyed today,” Vettel said.

“Catching a little bit, a little bit, but I think he [Lewis Hamilton] controlled the pace at the front.

“I would have liked it to be a little more wheel-to-wheel but it’s been a tough year, a long year and a lot of races.

“I will try, we will try, I think our whole team will try to come back stronger to make sure we give him a harder run into next year.”

The result meant Vettel ended the season 88 points adrift of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, marking the Briton’s most comfortable title triumph yet.

Asked if he thinks he had the car to win the title, Vettel replied: “I don’t know. I think yes, we could have been closer.

“But I think if you’re realistic I don’t see the last few races where we were able to put the car on pole, lead from the front and do the race our style.

“I think the races that we had they were always sort of starting just behind or further back, coming back, working our way up through the field, passing some cars and using the speed of the race that I think has been better but ultimately, not quick enough.

“But the way I see it, I think it’s well done by Lewis and Mercedes, they were just better than us this year.

“He’s the champion and he deserves to be the champion.”

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