At a time when Vettel needed it most, Red Bull have moved to another level over the past few races, propelling the 24-year-old into a six -point lead in the championship fight with four races remaining.
In winning the last three races, Vettel's surge has coincided with closest rival - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - struggling, the Spaniard crashing out at the first corner in two of the last five grands prix and managing only third in each of the other three.
Key to Vettel's success has been the raft of upgrades Red Bull have placed on the car of late, giving them a distinct edge over McLaren and Ferrari.
"They do it every year, so it's not a surprise it's happened again," said Hamilton.
"They did it in 2010 and 2011, and they've done it again this year, so when they do it again next year it won't be a surprise either.
"Because of the way the rules are the car has been evolving ever year and they have been on the same design path the last four years or so.
"It works, so they stick with it and it gets better and better. Every year Red Bull give Sebastian an incredible car.
"Whilst they have struggled in qualifying this year, generally their race car has been great all season.
"They've taken another step, and I don't think anyone can keep up with them at the moment. Sebastian is a big favourite (for the title)."
It was a similar story in both practice sessions Friday ahead of Sunday's Indian Grand Prix, with Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber comfortably clear of the rest of the field.
Alonso was third quickest, but six tenths of a second adrift, with Hamilton just under a second down alongside team-mate Jenson Button who suffered a gearshift issue that curtailed his running in FP2.
With Hamilton 62 points behind Vettel with only 100 available, he knows he is standing in the last-chance saloon as far as his hopes of bowing out on a high with McLaren are concerned.
Hamilton, who joins Mercedes next season on a three-year deal, said: "I don't like to give up, not when it's theoretically possible, but I am also realistic.
"I've been racing for some time and I know that kind of gap is very difficult to close, especially at this time of the season when it is so close and the guys in front generally stay ahead.
"Of course, we're pushing to win the last four races, and that's what we're going to try and do, and I'll give it 100 per cent as always.
"I just hope things are better for us than in the last three races, which have been very tough.
"But it's just a case of enjoying it. It's the last four races of the season, and with this team, so I want to make sure I give it absolutely everything."