After starting 23rd on the grid Michael Schumacher reckons his 11th place at Suzuka was "better than we expected" even though he missed out on a point.
A slow qualifying for the seven-time World Champion was made even worse by a ten-place grid penalty for driving into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne at the previous race in Singapore.
Despite starting on the back foot, Schumacher slowly but surely clawed his way up the field resulting in a battle for the final World Championship point with Daniel Ricciardo. It was the Toro Rosso driver who won.
"I have mixed feelings after the race here in Japan, because it's obviously unfortunate to come so close to scoring points and not manage it, after a race which went better than we expected," said Schumacher.
"In the final laps, I had a nice and interesting battle with Ricciardo, but in the end I couldn't get past him because the Toro Rosso was so quick on the straights.
"That's why we have to say we couldn't have got much more out of it today. Now let's see how things go in Korea."
Schumacher, though, at least got to spend his Sunday afternoon racing his car, something his team-mate Nico Rosberg failed to do.
The German was taken out on the opening lap by Bruno Senna, who was handed a penalty for the incident. That, though, didn't help Rosberg get back into the race.
"I had a good start to the race but unfortunately it ended fairly quickly today," he said.
"In the first corner Grosjean spun into Webber and that also led to my accident.
"I began to brake but Senna crashed into me from behind which destroyed my rear tyre and meant that I had to retire.
"It's a shame as I felt very comfortable with my car on the installation lap, and I was confident that we could score some decent points."