Felipe Massa continued to put a brave face on his agonising defeat in the F1 world championship, insisting that the final day of the 2008 was one that he would remember for positive reasons.

The Brazilian was within a handful of seconds of snatching an unlikely world title from the arms of season-long rival Lewis Hamilton, after the Briton slipped to sixth on the road with just two laps remaining at Interlagos, but eventually missed out by a single marker after Hamilton recovered to fifth at the very last corner. Despite the disappointment, Massa showed great dignity in defeat, knowing that he had done everything within his power to take the crown.

"I am so proud about that race, so proud about the team and so proud about the people around [the circuit] who supported me more than ever, more than 100 per cent," he said, "It was much more than I expected, really an emotional day for me.

"That's racing - the race finishes with the chequered flag. We finished in front and we have to be very proud about that, but unfortunately we missed one point. We need to be proud of our job and our race and our championship. I know how to win and I know how to lose. It is one more day of my life and we are going to learn a lot from this day. That's the way it is.

"We need to congratulate Lewis because he did a great championship and he scored more points than us, so he deserves to be champion, but I am very happy and I am leaving the track with my head up as I think we did everything we could."

While some sections of the Ferrari garage was celebrating 'his' championship prematurely, Massa revealed that he was being kept in check by engineer and mentor Rob Smedley, who was monitoring Hamilton's track position.

"I had completely mixed emotions because, at the time I had crossed the line, I was the champion and then, when I was already in turn three, he told me that Lewis had passed Glock....," the Brazilian confirmed, "Rob never said that [I was champion], because I think Hamilton was not far away from Glock so, when I crossed the line, he was telling me 'calm down, calm down, because I need to check Lewis'.

"Then I was going into turn one, and it was taking forever to know the result. When I got to turn two, it was still 'wait a second because he's fighting with Glock', and then, when I was getting to turn three, Rob said 'okay, he passed Glock, so... well done anyway, you did a good job'..."

Despite those mixed emotions showing clearly, both on the podium and at the post-race press conference, Massa insisted that he had many reasons for remembering the day as a positive one, with any regrets about coming so close to the title emanating from earlier in the year.

"I think it was a great day, one to remember," he said, "We won the race, we did a perfect job - for a Brazilian to win the race in Brazil is already very special, so it's a day to remember.

"You always need to remember the difficult moments too. Today was a great moment but, at the same time, it was a difficult one, so it was a fantastic day to remember and to learn even more. For sure, in terms of emotion, I think it was the most incredible race I ever saw in my life. So many things happened. When you cross the line and I was just waiting to hear the confirmation, then suddenly it changed, that was a big crazy race.

"At the end of the day, [Timo Glock] didn't have wet tyres, the rain was getting heavier, so I'm sure he didn't [let Hamilton pass] on purpose - I think he just missed the braking point. It was wet, so I cannot say anything.

"If I have any regrets, I think it would be every race where we didn't score points. It doesn't matter which race, one point today would have been enough. We could have won even more races, but it shows that we did a great championship. It shows that we were very strong this season but, at the end of the day, you need the points. I would easily exchange one win with a point today, but I'm very proud of my victories, about the championship."

Massa admitted, however, that he would not be tempted to stick two fingers up to those who had written him off even before he failed to score in either the Australian or Malaysian rounds.

"I have nothing to say - I just do my job, try to do the best I can," he claimed, "I think, last year, Kimi did a better championship than me and, this year, I did a better championship than him. So many things change from one year to the next. We just need to do our best, what we can.

"I don't have to say anything, just do my job. People write things, and sometimes you write things and, the day after, you change your mind. I think these people will change their minds a little bit."

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