Hulkenburg was in his final race for the unfancied Force India team and managed not only to finish fifth but also to lead the race, fight to take the lead again and survive a crash with Briton Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren.
The collision appeared to have cost the Englishman a convincing victory when he slid into him on the wet circuit at the first turn.
But Hulkenberg still left the Interlagos circuit feeling proud of his efforts and ready to take on a new challenge next year with the Swiss Sauber team. “I’m not too disappointed,” he said. “Fifth place is still a good result. I think I’ve learned a lot in this race.”