Nico Hulkenberg believes he can still be very proud of his Brazilian Grand Prix drive despite clashing with Lewis Hamilton and falling from first to fifth.
The German driver starred during the Interlagos event, overtaking the McLaren drivers to lead the race at various points. But the Force India driver was given a penalty for crashing with Hamilton when trying to pass the Briton for the lead.
Hamilton was upset, but McLaren said after the race that Hulkenberg had apologized for their clash. Hulkenberg, who will drive for Sauber next year, believes fifth was still a great leaving present for Force India.
"I'm not too disappointed," he said. "Fifth place is still a good result.
"I think I've learned a lot in this race. My first kilometers leading a race, and fighting with the top guys, so it was pretty eventful and a hell of a race. I'm proud of we've done and my drive. It's not perfect but I'm still happy."
He felt the collision with Hamilton was a simple racing accident.
"It was quite unfortunate, obviously," Hulkenberg said. "We were challenging and we had Timo [Glock] and Heikki [Kovalainen] into Turn 1 as well. I think Lewis ran out of space with Heikki and was a bit irritated there. I obviously decided to make a move into Turn 1 and was on the damp side of the track and lost the rear a little bit. Unfortunately we collided.
"Looking at the incident, I think it's just one of those things in racing. I think he could've turned away a bit. But the way it worked wasn't good for either of us."
Teammate Paul di Resta retired from the race when running in eighth position, the Scot crashing out two laps from the end.
"When we went back to the intermediates in the closing stages we were more competitive and I was up in eighth place," he said. "Unfortunately, with a lap to go I aquaplaned in the final corner. It was a big hit with the wall, but I'm OK."