One of the most poignant moments on an afternoon of unbridled joy, was in the moments after the race when Sebastian Vettel broke off from the trackside interviews to congratulate rival Lewis Hamilton on his fifth title.
As the two hugged and smiled, it was both spontaneous and genuine.
As a further mark of his sportsmanship, the German subsequently visited the Mercedes garage to congratulate members of the team, even though the Constructors’ Championship is still up for grabs.
"I'm not a big sharing person, but I congratulated him, I think he drove superb all year," the German subsequently told reporters. "It was going to be one of the two of us, so I told him it was well deserved and to enjoy it. I told him number five is something incredible.
"So it was mainly congratulating him and to tell him to keep pushing for next year because I want him at his best to fight him again," he added.
Though the odds were fully against him, there was still a mathematical chance that Vettel could win the title, but Hamilton's solid drive to fourth ended all that.
"It's a horrible moment," he admitted. "You put a lot of work in, but we could have seen it coming. I didn't pay attention in maths so I didn't check the numbers, and you just try to hang in there as long as you can. I have had it three times now in my life, but there is still disappointment on the day you realise you can't win the championship any more.
"Those are not happy days and you have to reflect not on one moment but the whole year of work and effort that goes in, from the end of last year until now. We had our chances, we used most of them but some we did not. In the end it wasn't enough."
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