Felipe Massa admitted he struggled to control his emotions at Interlagos after securing a podium finish to wrap up a difficult 2012 F1 campaign.
Massa did his best to aid team-mate Fernando Alonso
in his quest to take the title in Sao Paulo with an impressive performance that saw him work his way back through the field having dropped outside the top ten when rain started to fall.
It marked Massa's first podium finish at Interlagos since the 2008 season, when he won the race and briefly thought he had beaten Lewis Hamilton
to the title, and he said he was proud to have ended his season with such a strong showing.
"It was very emotional for me to jump up on the podium at my home race,” he said. “I cried like a baby, thinking back to how difficult this season has been for me, disastrous at first and then very competitive in the last part.
“Today's race was very close fought and difficult and so many things happened. It was not easy to work out what was the right tyre as the conditions changed so quickly. At the start, when it began to rain, we had opted to stay out on track, but we did so for too long. Then, I found myself down in eleventh, but I began to go very quickly and overtake a lot of drivers. Who knows, maybe I could even have been in the hunt for the win today...”
Massa added that he had driven with his focus on doing the best he could for Ferrari
in the title race and praised team-mate Alonso for his championship campaign.
“The team kept me informed all the time about what the situation was on track and on what could be useful to do in the fight for the championship: I think I did the right thing, for my team and also for my fans,” he said. “Fernando should be proud of what he has done this year: he was able to win when the car was not perfect and fought right to the end, even if his car was not a match for those of his rivals. His championship has been truly spectacular!”
Team boss Stefano Domenicali, who faced calls to replace Massa earlier in the season after a series of below-par results, said the Brazilian had shown his worth to the team.
"I want to thank Felipe for not letting go after a very difficult opening part to the year," he said. "He worked very hard and if today we have finished second in the Constructors' championship, we also owe it to him. We always stuck by him, even when the outside world was calling for us to sack him and we have given him confidence for 2013.
"I think his results in this final part of the season have been the right response to those who doubted him."