Abu Dhabi GP: Sebastian Vettel proud despite Ferrari's 'beating'
Sebastian Vettel accepts Ferrari took a "fair beating" at the hands of Mercedes in the Abu Dhabi but insists they do not have anything to be ashamed of from their 2017 season.
Ferrari had hoped to follow up their running to winning ways in Brazil earlier this month with a second-ending victory in Abu Dhabi but were no match for Mercedes, who eased to a one-two and one of their most comfortable wins of the season.
Vettel finished on the podium in third place - but was 19 seconds behind race winner Valtteri Bottas.
"Today we got a fair beating," admitted Vettel in the post-race press conference.
Nonetheless, the 15 points were enough to seal Vettel's second place to Lewis Hamilton in 2017's standings and confirm Ferrari's best Drivers' Championship finish since 2013.
"It was lonely so not the most exciting race but I'm happy to get a last podium this year, I think it's what the team deserves," Vettel told Sky Sports F1.
"Now all eyes are on next year."
It's a 2018 campaign in which Ferrari will expect to mount an even fiercer challenge to Mercedes' F1 supremacy.
External expectations are certainly higher than this time last year, when most observers tipped Red Bull, rather than Ferrari, to run Mercedes' closest in F1's new era in rules in 2017.
Vettel therefore insists "I don't think it's a shame to come second in the fashion we did".
"We had very strong races, we won races, races that we shouldn't have won, but here and there we missed some chances," he told Rachel Brookes.
"Overall we had a very good run. I don't think there was an awful lot more to grab. Certainly we had two or three races that were very costly but I think overall it's been a strong performance.
"Look where we were last year, who we were up against. I don't think it's a shame to come second in the fashion that we did. But obviously it's not what we want so it doesn't please us, doesn't satisfy us and we want more next year."
Despite the return to race-winning ways after a winless 2016, Ferrari's world title drought now stretches to nine seasons and Vettel says he and the team have little time to rest over the winter break.
"As a Ferrari driver you have no time to relax," he added.
"We have the test now and there is quite a bit of stuff to do before Christmas to close the chapter on this year and make sure we pick up all the lessons that there are. I'll try to push through and get in better shape for next year."