Vettel: Ferrari was in no man's land in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI -- Sebastian Vettel said he did not have the pace to attack Mercedes at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday after finishing a distant third at the season finale.

Vettel secured second in the championship this year after seeing his championship challenge fall apart at the Asian rounds in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. He won the penultimate race in Brazil, but in Abu Dhabi his Ferrari was no match for the Mercedes cars of race winner Valtteri Bottas and runner up Lewis Hamilton.

"First couple of laps I thought it was pretty good but then I had to let them go," he said. "I couldn't go with the pace that they had. After that I think I settled into a rhythm but I was on my own and the gap was quite big, so I could close a bit in the final stages but yeah it didn't really matter because we were a bit in no man's land.

"Overall I think it's been a good race, the second stint for me was better. But we lost the connection in the race in the first stint. Yeah, would have liked to be a bit more in the fight today to put those two under pressure, but I'm obviously happy with the podium, it was a good result. Strong result for the team, third and fourth. But overall not where we wanted to be."

Asked if he finished the season content with second place in the drivers' championship, Vettel added: "Yeah. But obviously I would've preferred to win today. Would've done the same for the drivers' championship but still. Anyway, I think there's lots of positives to take from this season."