Hamilton could do nothing to catch 'amazing' Bottas
It was not the win he wanted to round of a title-winning year in F1, but Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to Valtteri Bottas' Abu Dhabi drive.
Lewis Hamilton conceded there was little he could do to stop Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas taking an "amazing" win at the Formula One season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Bottas completed a pole-to-flag victory in a race that amounted to little more than a procession, with Hamilton having wrapped up a fourth world title in Mexico last month and the Silver Arrows in safe possession of a fourth straight constructors' championship.
Hamilton tried in vain to make things interesting, and the Briton reflected on another sublime season with the Brackley squad.
"I did [give it everything]," Hamilton said on the podium. "Big congratulations to Valtteri, he did an amazing job today to hold me off.
"It's very hard to overtake here so once I got to the last sector I struggled a little bit.
"I want to say a big thank you to the team, what they have produced for us this year is just incredible, it's just an honour to race with them."
Bottas still had an outside chance of claiming second in the standings with the win, but Sebastian Vettel finishing third curtailed those slim hopes.
But the Finn was delighted to finish his debut Mercedes campaign atop the podium after struggling to keep pace in the title fight in the second half of the season.
"It is really important win for me after having pretty difficult start to second half of the year," he said.
"I've been working hard on all the issues and getting better and better with everything. This weekend, pole and win, I couldn't be happier to end the season like this.
"Again, congratulations to Lewis for the title and congrats to Sebastian for second in the championship. I'm third this year and hopefully better next year."
It was ultimately a "lonely" race for Vettel, who could do little to match the pace of his Mercedes rivals.
And the German spoke of his hopes that Ferrari can mount a more concerted challenge next season having started so strongly.
He said: "In the beginning I tried very hard. I had a good start but then nowhere to go and locked up. After three, four or five laps I couldn't go any faster and they pulled away.
"From there onwards, it was pretty lonely.
"Congrats to Valtteri and very much congratulations to Lewis on his season. He deserves to win the championship this year. I hate to say it but he was the better man.
"We will do our bit over the weekend and hopefully come back stronger."