Greater Noida: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso said 'today was the day to congratulate Sebastian Vettel' for his historic title win but promised to make life tough for his German rival in the next season.
Alonso was the only man who could have taken the championship fight to Abu Dhabi but the Spaniard failed to win a single point by finishing 11th.
"Congratulations Sebastian. Obviously very, very strong season, dominating specially the second part of the year with many many wins. Well done to him and to the team. Hopefully, next year we can make things more difficult than this year," said Alonso.
"This is a sport, someone is better than us. This year it was Sebastian and Red Bull. Next year, we will try to do better and keep fighting until the end. This year we were fighting until three races to the end," the two-time world champion said.
Asked if he was given the same car and facility, can he beat Vettel, the Spaniard chose not to give a hypothetical answer.
"I'm not here to guess. I don't have the crystal balls to show. We all feel confident that we can do a good job. This is impossible to say. Today is the day to congratulate him and for him to enjoy the championship and it's the day for us to start working even harder because we have a strong challenge in front of us.
"They have been very strong, dominating for the last four years. We need to do something better than what we did in the last four years because it's clear that it's not enough. So we will start immediately. Next year, we want to win so we have to work," he said.
Alonso rated Vettel highly as a rival racer but said he could not judge him as a person.
"I don't know him personally enough to have an opinion...will be not fair for me...We can say from outside his driving performance is big with numbers, being a four-time champions is ...a great driver. In 2011, I remember winning 14 or 15 races, this year how many? Now is 10, so we will win may be 14 races," he said.
Alonso said his race was compromised when he clipped Mark Webber's Red Bull.
"After the contact with Webber, the race was more uphill for us, more difficult with one extra stop. We did not have the time or pace to recover positions. It was a little bit sad to lose important points but nothing we could do today," he said.
The Ferrari driver said it was difficult to say if he could have got a podium finish if not for that contact with Webber.
"Difficult to guess, was close to Webber. We touched each other. Looking at the start being so close to Webber and then Webber in the process to finish second in the race, maybe we could have finished at the podium. This is just a guess," he said.
Alonso also refused to be drawn into the debate - who should be called as the greatest driver.
"Different opinion for different people and all of them, we need to respect. Many people think Ayrton (Senna) was the best ever, won only three championships, compared to people who have won more.
"Some people think Michael is the greatest. If you see the numbers, he should be the best one because he has 91 victories, seven titles. This is at the moment nothing we could discuss. There will always be differing opinions and this is the good things about the sport."