Daniel Ricciardo’s sixth place in Abu Dhabi on Sunday wasn’t enough to see him leap-frog Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat in the final F1 standings.
The Australian started fifth for the season finale, but an out-of-position Sebastian Vettel charge through the field saw Ricciardo drop out of the top five late in the day.
And finishing in the top five would have been just desserts for Ricciardo, he feels.
“Top five would have been a bit sweeter, but I couldn’t hold off Seb, whom we expected to get past us more towards the end of the race,” Riccardo said. “I held him off for a lap and then, especially on those options tyres, his pace was so much quicker.
“I tried to get (Sergio) Perez, but couldn’t get close enough. At the start I had a sniff at (Nico) Hulkenberg and went for it and that paid off.
“Parts of it were fun. I would have liked more battles though, but it looked quite spread out. It’s a circuit I enjoy fighting on. I have confidence in the big breaking zones here.
“I think we ended the season well and feel I got the most out of the car, so I’m leaving the season more happy than I was a few races ago. Sixth is probably not that representative of how good our weekend was, but I’m pretty pleased.”
Kvyat meanwhile struggled late in the day and could only pick up a solitary point for 10th place, but it was enough to keep him in seventh place in the Driver’s Championship standings, picking up three more points than his team-mate.
He said: “It was good that we managed to finish and I was happy with my pace in the first half of the race. So, up until about midway, it looked as though we could have had a really strong race, as I was controlling (Felipe) Massa and attacking Hulkenberg, but then we had electronic issues and we had to give up the fight in a way.
“From then on we were losing a lot of time on the straight. Almost every lap we had to do something about our electronic issues, so under the circumstances, we did absolutely the best job we could today and I’m happy about that.”