Interlagos was a cauldron of emotion. Quite apart from the championship drama there was a poignancy about so much. Cruelly, just as David Coulthard's final Silverstone appearance didn't last a lap, so he was out of his last Grand Prix at the first corner. Before qualifying he admitted to being nervous like never before - feeling anxious, struggling to breathe.
The past 14 years, he said, had passed in the blink of an eye. Asking him what stood out and he had to think a while.
"The Magny-Cours race [in 2000] and battling past Michael [Schumacher]. Giving him the finger and the wanker gesture! It was ridiculous to imagine he could see them when the mirrors are so small, but so much emotion and passion went in that day.
"Winning Monaco the second time was special. The first victory was slightly fortunate because Michael had a suspension failure but the second was a first corner-toflag victory."
Coulthard had no fewer than nine seasons at McLaren, six alongside Mika Hakkinen and, while he exits with 13 wins, the world title always eluded him. "I had a good car and team and wasn't "I had a good car and team and wasn't able to turn it to my advantage," he says.
"I finished in front of Mika in the championship a few times, but when it really mattered he finished in front of me. Mika was an incredible driver with more natural speed than I had, but it doesn't take away the fact that, with a little bit more support, I think I could have delivered more.
"This is not bullshit, not Nigel Manselltype complaining, but it's a fact that I would be on pole, then Mika would take it away and the pitwall would erupt. You're thinking, 'well, I'm not Ferrari, I'm the other side of your garage!' Then you've got to psyche yourself up to go out again. It didn't happen the other way around, I can tell you that for a fact."
Overall, DC is more than happy with his lot. He will be back in the paddock next year working for the BBC. Spare a thought, however, for Rubens Barrichello. He doesn't want to be finished with F1 just yet, but it seems Honda is finished with him.
When the team serves up a pig like the RA108 and Barrichello outscores Button - who allegedly costs twice as much - 11 points to three and outqualifies him 10-8, you might reasonably feel it's a tad harsh. Coulthard and Barrichello are two of the most well-adjusted, 'normal' blokes you will find in a set of racing overalls. Rubens is not a jealous type but you still wondered how hard it must have been to witness the Massa mania knowing that he might be walking out of the paddock for the final time on Sunday night. And without the same kind of closure as DC was able to muster.
"I don't understand why Honda would replace him with a young guy," Coulthard says. "Unless you think you've got a real superstar, why have them run around behind Jenson all year? Rubens is motivated because Jenson's not slow and Rubens is able to match him."
Before you reach for the Kleenex, Coulthard is nothing if not a realist. "I've experienced walking out of the paddock in 2004 with nothing sorted for the following year and nobody saying goodbye," he says. "It's too fast-moving a sport. When the chequered flag falls, everyone is focused on next year, and quite rightly."
Ushering in a new generation
Indeed they were. Bruno Senna tests a Honda later this month and there, in the paddock, were his advisors introducing themselves to Rubens' race engineer, Jock Clear. Officially, Rubens is still in the Honda frame for next year, but I wouldn't wager money on him. With KERS coming, weight is an issue and he's never been the lightest of drivers. He hasn't given up though, and is talking to Toro Rosso too.
How will Coulthard be remembered?
As a talented, entirely professional, multiple F1 winner. But also as a polite, amenable, thoroughly decent bloke who walked out of the paddock gate just as he walked in. I remember a line from a veteran Fleet Street hack after a press night with DC some years back. Looking a bit misty eyed, he turned to his colleagues and said: "You know something? If that were my lad, I'd be right proud." Nobody disagreed.
"More than just the driving of the car," David said last weekend, "what a great experience it's all been - to travel and to meet the people I've met, and to come out the other side with more friends than enemies." He brought himself up short, chuckled a little self-consciously and added: "I'd like to imagine."
He need have no fears on that score.