Lewis Hamilton was philosophical after brake problems forced him to retire from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, and declared that while it was a 'shame', especially given he was running so well, equally its 'just racing sometimes'.
Hamilton, who started the 17th and final round in the 2009 FIA F1 World Championship from pole, steadily built up a cushion over second-placed Sebastian Vettel early on, setting six consecutive fastest race laps as he established a lead of almost two seconds over the Red Bull Racing driver.
His progress, however, was not to last and the McLaren-Mercedes man began to encounter braking issues - a problem that caused him to out-brake himself and run wide at turn 17, losing half of his advantage.
A couple of laps later, the problem became more apparent and it was clear he was suffering from unusually high pad wear on his right-rear wheel.
Despite his engineers attempting to cope with the issue by putting the Englishman into a brake-conservation mode, the wear-rate refused to drop off, and a decision was promptly made to bring him into the pits rather than risk imminent brake failure.
“I had a good start, but I realised early on that something wasn't right with the brakes,” Hamilton reflected. “After three or four laps, it became clear that there was a problem with my right-rear brake pad, so I couldn't open up the gap back to Sebastian and Mark [Webber].
“When the problem got worse, the team radioed me and told me to stop at the end of the lap. Of course, it's a shame that we couldn't show the performance we'd had throughout the weekend – but sometimes that's racing.
“However, I think we can be really proud of our efforts: who'd have thought we'd finish third in the constructors' championship at the start of this season?
“It's been an incredible year, and now I can't wait for next season to start so I can fight for the world championship again.”
McLaren meanwhile have said that they will 'thoroughly investigate the cause of the issue', although 'initial analysis' suggests it was a 'one-off incidence of a faulty pad'.
“Lewis drove absolutely superbly all weekend – in fact he drove absolutely superbly all year. Today, though, after just five laps, his right rear brake pad began to show signs of an unusual level of wear – a rogue pad, we think – and as a result we had to stop him for safety reasons,” confirmed team boss, Martin Whitmarsh.
“That was an enormous pity, because up to that point he'd shown blistering pace every day here in Abu Dhabi.”