Alistair Brownlee has questioned whether the public see Mo Farah as British and feels he deserves more recognition.

Double Olympic triathlon champion Brownlee, who finished second behind Andy Murray at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, said he would have voted for Farah after he defended his 5,000 and 10,000metres titles in Rio this summer.

But the 33-year-old Somalia-born athlete missed out on the top three at the showpiece ceremony in Birmingham, leading Brownlee to ponder why.

"Maybe some people don't necessarily see him as British, I suppose," the triathlete said. "He trains abroad and that kind of thing. It's really sad because he is almost the perfect British story. It's what we should be about.

"He comes to Britain as young man, a refugee, and a school teacher identifies something he is brilliant at and he represents Britain against the best of the world. I think it's a fantastic British story. I can't say why people don't vote for him."

Farah was fourth with 54,476 votes, behind Olympic showjumper Nick Skelton, and polled almost 200,000 votes fewer than winner Murray.

"For me, Mo's achievements are incredible," Brownlee said. "No one has ever done them before and there's a good chance no one will ever do them again."

Murray was crowned the winner for a record third time after a superb 12 months which he ends as the world's top-ranked tennis player.

He won Wimbledon for a second time and also defended his Olympic gold medal in Rio, securing 247,419 votes to make it a hat-trick of BBC accolades following his wins in 2013 and 2015.

Murray will look to end his Australian Open heartbreak - having lost the final five times - next month but accepts he has to be ready in case 2017 is not as successful as 2016 was.

"It'll be really hard and I'm trying to prepare myself mentally for that. It's possible everything doesn't go perfectly next year and I need to be able to deal with that," he said, speaking from his training camp in Miami.

"To stay at the top and keep winning big titles is a really difficult thing to do.

"I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm expecting it to be really hard and that's why I need to keep improving. I made some clear improvements in my game this year and it showed in results.

"There'll be a change. I'm sure the rest of the (ATP) Tour and Novak (Djokovic), being up at the top for such a long time, will be wanting to get back to top spot. It's taken such a long time to get here I want to try to stay as long as I can."

Murray finished well ahead of Brownlee (121,665) and Skelton (109,197), who became Great Britain's first individual Olympic showjumping champion when he claimed gold in Brazil four months ago.

The Scot added: "The hardest one was getting to number one. It's not just one event where you show up and play a great tournament. It's the whole year's results and it takes a lot of consistency. It's something I've never done before."

Swimmer Michael Phelps, who was honoured with the lifetime achievement award after capping his career with five Olympic golds in the summer, reserved praise for Adam Peaty, who became the first British man to win an Olympic swimming gold medal since Adrian Moorhouse in 1988.

Peaty broke his own world record to triumph in the 100m breaststroke in 57.13 seconds.

"I'm really happy I wasn't racing against him, having such a dominant performance," Phelps said of the 21-year-old. "I said to (Ian) Thorpe, Peaty's was the grossest swim I have ever seen.

"It's really fun watching young kids come up and achieving their goals and dreams. I'm excited to see him going forward. I'd love to see him swim the 200m - it would be kind of fun."