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.