A second-place finish at the United States Grand Prix was more than enough for Hamilton to secure the championship for a third season in a row and fifth from six in the V6 Hybrid era.
Vettel was Hamilton’s closest rival in 2017 and 2018, but dropped out of contention this year, with Valtteri Bottas taking up the mantle but falling short of the Briton yet again.
And despite his own frustrations, Vettel was happy to commemorate Hamilton’s sustained success.
“I think now is the time for you to write as many good things as you can,” said Vettel.
“If somebody wins the title six times he deserves all of it. That’s what I told him as well.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 3, 2019
“Obviously I’m happy for him, I’m not happy that we are not in contention this year and we were so far back.
“But you need to respect what he achieved the last years and also this year, together with his team how strong they have been.
“I’m happy for him but less happy for us.”
Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc also paid tribute to Hamilton after his coronation.
“On my side, I didn’t even win one world title – only one title is already a huge achievement, to win six is just incredible,” Leclerc said.
“He deserves it. He has done an incredible season. I grew up watching him on the TV and just huge congratulations to him.”