SINGAPORE - Fernando Alonso recognised the Formula One title battle was effectively over on Sunday after his skill and a calculated gamble with the tyres were still no match for championship leader Sebastian Vettel at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Spaniard did all he could around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, jumping from seventh on the grid to finish second to the Red Bull driver who increased his lead to 60 points with six races remaining.
Alonso said second place had felt like victory in a car that was two seconds slower than the one driven by his dominant German rival, who looks sure to take a fourth title in succession.
"We have to be realistic, few races to go already and the gap is still increasing every weekend and is now 60 points. We need to be honest with ourselves," the 32-year-old double champion told reporters.
"We need a lot of luck. We don't need (it just) in Korea, we need luck in Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi. We need luck every weekend as we are one second of the pace."
Asked what he and his Ferrari team can do to reign in the lightning quick Red Bulls, Alonso was honest.
"Nothing we can do," he said. "Obviously we try our maximum, we try to improve the car every race and we are doing that but obviously not enough compared to the opponents, they are doing a better job than us every weekend, they are fantastic every weekend, they are winning and they deserve those wins.
"The best one wins and we are not the best ones at the moment and we will keep working."
Vettel's victory was his third consecutive this season and seventh in 13 races. Alonso hoped that a raft of changes in 2014, including new V6 power units, could help bridge the gap.
"We start from zero next year, completely from zero, a big change in regulations, so it is our best opportunity to close the gap," the former Renault and McLaren driver said optimistically. "We will put all our effort in to 2014 hopes as that is our best opportunity to close the gap with the top teams."