Mark Webber bowed out of Formula 1 with a podium finish and the wind in his hair at the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on Sunday.
In a typically bullish drive, the Australian, who switches focus to endurance racing with Porsche from next season, came second behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, securing with it third place in the driver’s world championship standings.
After another disappointing start from fourth place, Webber slipped to fifth by the first corner, but fought his way back through the field against the cream of the F1 circus - Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
And after crossing the finish line for the final time, Webber completed the cooling down lap without his helmet.
He said: “In other sports you have the emotion that people can see - whether it is on a tennis court at Wimbledon or wherever - in our sport it is helmet, gloves, you can’t see what is behind the wheel until we get on the podium and you see the emotion there.
“I am very proud to have raced with these guys in the end.
“I raced pretty much all four or five of them at some point in the race today - apart from Seb who was a bit down the road - but it was a good battle for all of us.
“It was a real pleasure for me to finish today’s race like this and also to finish on the podium with arguably the two best guys of our generation at the moment - I hold them in very high esteem.
“I am happy with the finish and I am ready to go and do something different now and it was a special day for myself and everyone who helped me get here.”
His Red Bull team could have made it easier for him though - a sticking wheelnut on his left rear tyre cost him valuable time in the pits, and dropped him behind Ferrari driver, and good friend, Fernando Alonso.
But after overtaking the Spanish racer, a crash between Valteri Bottas in the Williams and Hamilton in the Mercedes threatened to bring out the safety car, and had Webber queueing behind Vettel in the Red Bull pit as a precaution.
He held on to second place though to give Red Bull their fourth 1-2 finish of the season, much to the delight of Team Principal Christian Horner.
He said: “It was fantastic that he finished his Formula One career on the podium with a really gutsy drive.
“His moves on Rosberg, Hamilton and twice on Alonso showed what a real racer he is.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for the invaluable contribution that he’s made to the team, to the four Constructors’ Championships that we have won together and for all his hard work and efforts throughout the last seven years.”