Lewis Hamilton put on a brave face as he came to terms with his failure to clinch the Formula One world title.
Hamilton congratulates Raikkonen (right) on his title triumph
Hamilton had started the Brazilian Grand Prix as title favourite but a poor start and car problems handed the championship to Kimi Raikkonen.
"Who'd have thought I'd be ranked number two in my first year of Formula One?" Hamilton told BBC 5Live.
"There was nothing we could do, we did the best job we could, the team did a phenomenal job all year."
Hamilton added: "It's been a crazy year and I honestly can't say I'm really gutted - I'm not.
"I finished second in the world championship. I beat my team-mate under extremely difficult circumstances. I beat the two-time world champion. That was the goal.
"Who would have thought I would be leading the world championship going into the last race?"
Looking back over the race, Hamilton admitted his own error in judgement partly led to his downfall.
The McLaren driver tried to pass his team-mate Fernando Alonso on the first lap but slid off into the run-off area.
And on lap eight, the 22-year-old's car slipped out of gear. Although the gearbox electronics corrected themselves, he found himself at the back of the field and 40 seconds off the pace.
"I have not had time to analyse what went on," said the 22-year-old.
"It was my mistake at the beginning of the race and I lost a couple of positions.
"I had the pace to get back but at turn four the car slammed into neutral and we don't know why yet.
"It was all against me in the end but I will go into next year and try to do a better job.
I believe he'll win the world championship one day
Damon Hill on Lewis Hamilton
"It is 22 weeks until the next race and I am going to come back fitter, more relaxed, more experienced and I will have a better car."
Raikkonen had been 17 points behind Hamilton with just two races remaining and was the outsider to take the title at the start of Sunday's race.
"We've had a few tough weeks but the team did the best job we could and have done a fine job all year," added Hamilton. "I still believe we had the fastest car."
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis was left to rue the problems suffered by Hamilton's car.
"Lewis has enjoyed phenomenal reliability from his car this year," said Dennis.
"It was just a default in the gearbox which selected neutral for a period of time but then sorted itself out.
"It's hard to find the right words but I think the whole team has done a great job all year and should be proud of their achievements.
"It's not about one race, it's about the championship, we have to be sporting and positive and look forward to next year."
Meanwhile, Damon Hill, the last Briton to win the Formula One title back in 1996, said he believed Hamilton would eventually win the championship.
"Winning the title would have been a fantastic achievement," he told BBC News 24.
"But not many people win in their first season and he has got a long way to go yet. There's a long career ahead of Lewis Hamilton, we're going to hear a lot more from him, and I believe he'll win the world championship one day."