Fernando Alonso hinted his world championship dream was shattered by rough justice in Belgium and Japan rather than his heartbreaking knife edge defeat in Brazil on Sunday.
The Ferrari driver finished second behind Jenson Button of McLaren in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, but his performance was not enough to prevent Sebastian Vettel from claiming a third title by just three points.
The Spaniard insisted that his campaign had been undermined at Spa, when he was shunted by Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, and at Suzuka when Vettel's alleged blocking tactics in qualifying resulted in only a reprimand for the German.
Vettel went on to win that race.
"The championship was not lost here," said two-time champion Alonso. "The championship was lost when (Romain) Grosjean flew over my head (at Spa) or when Vettel surprisingly only got a reprimand after qualifying in Japan.
"It was 20 races close to perfection, but we missed a little bit of performance through lack of ideas but we enjoyed it and fought until the end. We have to feel proud. We finished second today but it just wasn't enough."
"There's been situations during the season that make you think of these three points, but that's the sport."
Alonso adeed: "Even though I finished second in the points I have never had such respect and the affection from everybody in the paddock."
"This is the first time that I have got drivers, ex-drivers, teams, fans to say that we have done the best championship. We'll be back as strong in 2013, because it would be harder to be stronger. I have a great feeling after 2012, by far the best year of my career."