Daniel Ricciardo says he enjoyed returning to 'old times' after he vied for the race lead with the Mercedes duo and his team-mate Daniil Kvyat before his race was jeopardised in drying conditions and suffering two collisions.
The Red Bull driver looked in prime position to challenge for his first victory of the year during the early laps on intermediate tyres but once the track surface dried sufficiently for slicks his advantage over the field was lost and he went backwards through the field.
His race went from bad to worse after separate clashes with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz as he slid to the back of the field but clawed his way up to take the final points-paying position from McLaren's Fernando Alonso on the last lap.
Despite the multiple highs and lows, Ricciardo says he revelled in his return to the sharp end until things turned sour.
“The beginning was really fun between both Mercedes and both Red Bulls,” Ricciardo said. “It was a good four-way battle. To see the Mercs not getting away from us was awesome. I was enjoying that. In the lead we were quite quick for a few laps and it felt like old times.
“Obviously didn't last long and once we put the slicks on we just didn't have the pace. We struggled with the warm up with the tyres and also struggled a lot with braking today. It was so tricky in the dry and then obviously there were the collisions with Hulkenberg and Carlos. It went downhill from then on.
“It was a crazy race and I hope the fans enjoyed it as it was quite action packed. Lewis definitely deserves the title. This year he was clearly on top of the rest so congrats and hats off to him for being the 2015 champion.”