Michael Schumacher was delighted that he was able to recover to seventh place in his final Formula 1 grand prix, despite an early puncture.
In a incident-packed race, Schumacher fell to the back of the field in the opening laps but got up to sixth before being passed by title-bound Sebastian Vettel in late on.
"It's been a pretty big challenge because obviously I had the puncture and was at the back again," said Schumacher. "It took some memories back to 2006 when the same thing happened to me. Luckily I have the nature of not giving up and always trying to find a solution, and it worked out."
He admitted it was poignant to see his friend and compatriot Vettel claim the title on the day he waved goodbye to the sport.
"It's obviously a nice ending if you see the story I'm finishing off here," said Schumacher. "In a way it does remind me of 2003 when I had a similar struggle and just managed by a point to win the championship. I'm proud of him. He's a good friend of mine."
Schumacher's race also included a hard-fought battle with Kimi Raikkonen.
"People are here to see a show, so you might as well put one on," said the Mercedes driver. "Give it a go and give it the maximum. I was having a go, and at certain moments you need to accept that there isn't the space and admit defeat."
He added that he was incredibly grateful for the support he had received from fans during his ultimately disappointing return with Mercedes.
"It has been a beautiful time," said Schumacher."Lots of exciting moments we shared, and lots of tough moments. The most incredible thing in a way is that I felt a lot of support in these last three years and they have been the most difficult years for me. But the fans have always been behind me."