Fernando Alonso refused to point the finger of blame at his Ferrari team after conceding the Formula One title to Sebastian Vettel.
Alonso was eight points ahead in the F1 drivers' standings going into Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but he could only manage a seventh-place finish at the Yas Marina circuit.
Ferrari's initial strategy appeared centred around holding off Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who was second behind Alonso in the overall standings before the race.
An early pit stop was meant to match that of Webber, but ultimately left Alonso unable to pass the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, gifting the world championship crown to Vettel.
"After the race it's always very easy to see the best strategy," Alonso said.
"If we didn't stop, Webber would have overtaken us. If we did stop, we cover from Webber but we let Petrov and (Nico) Rosberg in front. It was a very difficult call I think."
Russian Petrov turned in an exceptional performance in a largely meaningless race for his French team, dashing the hopes of both Alonso and Webber and having a decisive say in the outcome of the season.
"I tried to pass him once and he protected like it was the last lap of the championship and we were both fighting for the championship," Alonso said of Petrov's dogged display.
"He was very aggressive but he drove very well and made no mistakes."
Despite the disappointment of failing to capture a third world championship, Alonso, who won the title in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, was relieved to be back in the hunt after some less than competitive recent seasons.
"It was very good for me, especially after two years with some difficulties fighting to get into Q3," he said, referring to a lack of pace in qualifying during his unsuccessful return to Renault.
"I think coming back to winning races, to fight for the championship in the last race ... I won five races, I overtook in victories Niki Lauda, Juan Manuel Fangio - big names in Formula One - so for me it's something amazing."
"I'm sure with this team it will be very possible to fight for championships in the future."