Now that Hamilton had put the exhaustive talk of a dwindling championship fight to bed, the paddock could at last refocus on the racing. And what a terrific weekend of action ensured.

A pole margin of less than half a tenth of a second; the newly crowned world champion in a high-speed crash on his first lap in qualifying; superb recovery drives from a duo of the grid’s most dynamic wheel-to-wheel racers and a win for Ferrari when they needed it most.

But even Hamilton’s heroic performance on Sunday could not steal the adulation from the undisputed star performer of the weekend. In his final race on home turf, Felipe Massa’s seventh place was a homage to his emotive victory at Interlagos in 2008; his final victory in Formula 1 (barring miracles in Abu Dhabi).

The Brazilian’s habit for being lifted by his home fans is uncanny; if he could only bring the same level of electricity and determination he brings to Interlagos to every track, perhaps Massa could have achieved much more in his career. As it stands, it was second beautifully emotional send-off for one of the paddock’s dearest friends.

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