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Alonso concedes title challenge over

SINGAPORE, Malaysia, September 22 – Fernando Alonso on Thursday conceded his title dream was over this year – and said Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull fully deserve to be champions even if he and Ferrari triumph in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

On a busy day of mounting anticipation ahead of Sunday’s 61-laps showdown at the Marina Bay circuit, Alonso said his 24-year-old German rival had been in exceptional form and rarely made a mistake throughout the year.

“He’s driving fantastically. I think this year he has made no mistakes or very few mistakes. Last year we had a bigger chance. I think the Red Bull was very dominant also last year, but had some trouble in some races,” said the Spaniard.

“This year they improved all those problems. The car is as quick as last year. He has finished all the races. I think he’s the only driver who has finished all the races and – plus – he’s driving very, very well.

“When you have a dominant car it’s easy to get a pole position or win a race, but there’s been some occasions this year when the conditions were very tricky — like Canada or Silverstone and he managed to pull a perfect lap in qualifying and a perfect race from the start to the end.

“So in general, he has been the best driver and the best team and the best package. So they deserve to be where they are.”

Having poured praise on his rival, Alonso told reporters he was looking ahead to next year. Asked if he had given up all hopes of a miracle this season, he admitted: “Yes.”

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