F1 2012 drew to a close with both HRTs finishing for the ninth time this season; the best possible result in what may well turn out to be the team's last ever race.
Pedro De la Rosa and Narain Kartikheyan crossed the line in 17th and 18th place respectively, a respectable achievement for the cash-strapped minnows, with both drivers surviving the chaos on a dramatic afternoon at the Interlagos circuit.
De la Rosa was quick to praise the team afterwards, the veteran Spaniard having returned to F1 at the beginning of the year to provide valuable input to the young Constructor.
"It's been a great race and I enjoyed driving very much," he said. "You never knew what to expect as conditions were changing every lap, it's certainly been one of the most enjoyable races of my career. We wanted to finish on a good note and I think we did, I also want to congratulate (Sebastian) Vettel on his third title.
“And finally thank the team for their tireless work and commitment and also our sponsors and fans that have supported and pushed us from the beginning to the end of this amazing season.”
Kartikheyan was also satisfied with his day's work, staying out of trouble to get to the finish in a car infamous for its unreliability. He paid tribute to the hard work of the inexperienced outfit.
“It has certainly been one of the most difficult races of the season given the changing weather and track conditions," he said. "But I am very satisfied with how we all dealt with it and the way we drove. It was a bit of a gamble as weather conditions kept on changing during the whole race and it was easy to lose tyre temperature or overuse them when the track was drying out.
“We managed the situation well and got both cars across the finish line, which is a positive way to finish the season. I want to thank the whole team for the work they've done all year and I am very proud to be part of this team”
The final word on probably HRT's finest race goes to team principal Luis Perez-Sala, who was quick to recognise the efforts of everybody involved.
"What an amazing and difficult race!" he said. "The changing conditions made it quite challenging out there and both drivers stayed fully focused from the beginning to the end and put in a fantastic performance.
“The work that all mechanics and engineers did in the garage was also very good and both cars got to the checkered flag, which is the best way to finish this long, tough but rewarding season. I am really proud of every single team member, without whom this season wouldn't have been possible. But also thank our sponsors, partners and fans alike for their continuous support.”
by Philip Barclay