Despite featuring in the incident that almost swung the world championship to Fernando Alonso, Williams F1 ultimately saw the 2012 season that promised so much after their victory in Barcelona end with a crushing double retirement in the season finale at Interlagos in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Bruno Senna exited the race after a collision with championship leader Sebastian Vettel on the very first lap, an incident that came close to putting the Red Bull out of the race and handing the world championship to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"I had a good start and was racing well but unfortunately I had an incident when Sebastian tried to take the apex and there was nowhere to go," said Senna. "This is racing and sometimes these things happen."

"Bruno got hit by Vettel who cut across him on the apex of turn 4 on the first lap and this stopped the car," confirmed the team's chief operations engineer Mark Gillan.

In the end, it was Senna who was left on the sidelines - along with Sergio Perez, after the Williams ended up running into and over the rear of the Sauber in the aftermath of the Vettel contact. There was little for Senna to do other than join his compatriots watching the rest of a thrilling race.

"I want to take the opportunity to thank the fans who were such a big support at my home Grand Prix," he added. "It always makes a big difference..

His team mate Pastor Maldonado also retired from the race on the very next lap, after a spin in the difficult greasy conditions.

"We had an excellent start moving up several places but unfortunately I lost the rear of the car at turn 3," he explained. "It was a slippery surface and there wasn't much grip which caught us by surprise at the beginning. There wasn't much we could do so we were unlucky today."

Gillan added: "Pastor was running in eighth position at the start of the second lap having gained eight positions on the first lap, but hit the wet kerb on the exit of Turn 3 which pushed him off the track and into the tyre barrier prematurely ending his race."

It was indeed, as the team's press communications put it, "a very short and disappointing race for us" with which to finish the 2012 season.