Lewis Hamilton rued a “boring” Brazilian Grand Prix after he finished behind Nico Rosberg for the second race in succession.
After ending his near five-month streak without a victory at the last race in Mexico, Rosberg rubber stamped second place in the championship with his fifth victory of the campaign.
Sebastian Vettel, now consigned to finishing third in the standings, completed the podium places.
Hamilton secured his third title in Austin last month, but the Briton’s wait for his inaugural victory at the home of his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna will now be extended into a 10th season.
While pole-sitter Rosberg turned in a flawless display at this famous Interlagos track, Hamilton was on the team radio desperate to stretch the tactical imagination of his Mercedes team.
“Can you get me on a different strategy somehow?’’ he asked. ‘’I’m faster but it’s impossible to overtake.’’
His team, however, refused to break from their mantra of running identical strategies for both of their drivers. As such, Rosberg and Hamilton pitted on three occasions – a lap apart – and a rather tepid race ensued.
“I had good pace, but you cannot overtake here,” said Hamilton. “It is such a great track, but you can’t get close enough to race.
“I am here to race and when you are both in the same order it is like it is already set from the beginning. If there are any other strategies, let’s do it, let’s take a risk, let’s do whatever, and I am told to look after the tyres.
“I am like, ‘No I am racing’, and I think that is what people want to see, but unfortunately today I could not get close enough to be able to put on a great race so it was relatively boring.”
Hamilton had a sniff at passing Rosberg when the German missed the apex at Turn One midway through this penultimate race of the season – but that was largely as good as it got for the world champion.
Meanwhile, another painful weekend for McLaren culminated in Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso finishing 15th and 16th respectively.