There was no sign that Mark Webber was having any second thoughts or getting misty-eyed about his decision to quit F1 after this weekend's race.

To the contrary, he looked bright-eyed and bushy tailed, keen for the next challenge and happy with the way he'd signed off at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo on Sunday with second place in his final outing.

"It was a very nice way to finish ... I got the timing right," Webber said after celebrating on the podium with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. "It was a very good finish to my career, a good fight with all the guys I've enjoyed fighting with for most of my career: Seb, Fernando, Lewis, Nico, all the guys who have been in the window for the last five or six years.

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"F1 is a sport which I've loved. I could never have dreamt of the career that I've had, the tremendous highs, the tough lows - you know they have to happen and you learn from adversity," he continued. "It's been a thoroughly enjoyable career. A great journey, one of which I'm proud of.

"There's been so many people who have played a special role in my career," he added. "They know who they all are - thank you very much if you are watching ... I want to thank everyone in Australia. I wouldn't be here where I am without the support in the early days."

Webber revealed afterwards that he'd spent the last lap with his race helmet off so that he could show his face to the fans and feel the wind through his hair for the final time in an open-wheel car.

"It was nice to take the helmet off for the final lap," he explained. "In this sport it's not always possible to give things a personal touch.

"We have the helmets on all the time, so they fans don't always see a F1 driver in a car without a helmet. It was nice to get it off and see the marshals and the fans; it was just a really nice thing to experience.

"I heard a lot of noises that I don't normally hear," he said. "Christian radioed me and said enjoy the last lap, which I did. I did it as slow as I could; it was a very special day."

"It was fantastic that he finished his F1 career on the podium with a really gutsy drive," said Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner. "His moves on Rosberg, Hamilton and twice on Alonso showed what a real racer he is.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him for the invaluable contribution that he's made to the team, to the four constructors championships that we have won together and for all his hard work and efforts throughout the last seven years," he added. "As he moves on to a new challenge we wish him the very, very best to him and his family for the future."

Vettel said he was sad to see his long-time team mate depart the team, despite a relationship that has at times been strained - never more so that earlier this year in Malaysia when Vettel ignored team orders to order to pass Webber for the win despite the infamous 'Multi 21' call from the pit wall.

"We've been team-mates for a very, very long time," Vettel pointed out. "Together I think we've been very, very successful for the team.

"We didn't have the best relationship, but nevertheless we always had respect for each other on a professional level," said Vettel "Whatever was going on off-track, [it] didn't make a difference to us on track and we both pushed each other very hard.

"I certainly learned a lot from Mark. I learned to become a better driver, due to his impressive skills; that's why I consider him one of the best drivers on the grid," he added.

"Seb and I have had our challenges over time," agreed Webber. "It's easier to have a relationship with Fernando, as he's in another team. But to finish on the podium with those two guys - well, they have been the best of this generation.

"I have raced them a lot and to finish with those guys was nice for me because it meant a lot, showing that I can drive well at the end of my career," he said. "Enjoy watching F1 next year with these guys, but [for me it's] off to Porsche [sports cars] - and looking forward to it!"

So no sign of any regrets or last minute second thoughts for Webber - although he admitted that there had been one moment earlier in the day when the emotions of the occasion had crept up on him.

"The difficult part for me today was actually getting in to the car for the final time," he revealed. "I was overcome with some emotion then to be honest. That moment of the helmet going on and stepping into the car was actually the strongest emotion I've had all day."