"Sorry, I tried. I was too far away, too far away... is the championship game over?"
Sebastian Vettel is flying at the end of the race in Austin, but falls agonisingly short of snatching second - which means Lewis Hamilton has done enough to be crowned world champion.
"I don't know.. .don't know what the hell that was."
Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, is almost inconsolable after his error while leading.
"P6! P6!" (Laughs)
Contrasting emotions at McLaren, where Jenson Button can scarcely believe his eight-point haul...
"I don't think we can be happy though in terms of performance. That was a long way from where I expected."
...Button isn't deceiving himself, however, particularly given the role of fortune in a largely chaotic race.
"You are on fire! Keep pushing!
"Now we need two quali laps. Big push to open the gap." (Toro Rosso to Sainz)
"He's a bit of a nutter isn't he?" (laughs) (Button)
Into the final stages, and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz is on a charge, wrestling his way past Button and into sixth - to the Briton's apparent amusement.
"There's no power... okay when I'm not in the points, I come in."
Alonso, meanwhile, plunges from fifth to 10th in the space of two laps due to technical issues. He is on course to at least bag one point until the final lap, when Daniel Ricciardo finds his way past.
"Okay Daniel, don't go bananas now..." (Red Bull to Ricciardo)
Speaking of Ricciardo, the Australian's race looked very different on lap 18, when he surged past Hamilton and into the lead...
"It looked a lot better on inters..." (Ricciardo)
"Good effort Daniel. If it stopped on lap 20 you'd have been looking good." (Christian Horner)
...a fact the Australian and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wryly acknowledge at the finish.
"Yer the track is a river at the moment." (Sainz)
"Very bad - I couldn't even go flat out!" (Verstappen)
"There's a lot of standing water..." (Ericsson)
In fact momentum between teams and drivers swung all weekend, not least because of the weather. After FP2 was cancelled, FP3 was also dominated by talk of rain.
"I can't touch any of the wet areas... I'll just aquaplane off the circuit." (Button)
"It's useless. I come in." (Verstappen)
"Its' very dangerous out here guys." (Kvyat)
Into qualifying - now on Sunday morning - and the adverse conditions are still causing problems...
"I touched the wall. Should be no damage, box box." (Vettel)
"I crashed. Sorry guys, sorry. I am okay." (Sainz)
...and Vettel and Sainz are the most notable casualties. Vettel at least gets away with just scraping the wall at Turn 9 - but Sainz isn't so lucky, crashing heavily at Turn 2.
"Stop stop, stop stop, stop stop, stop stop, stop stop, stop stop."
Mercedes, meanwhile, use secret code to bring Hamilton and Rosberg back to the garage after Q3 is cancelled, earning Rosberg pole.
"There's something wrong with the front tyres. They're not working at all, just juddering - big understeer." (Rosberg)
"That sounds like they're just cold..." (Mercedes)
Rosberg senses problems on his way to the grid on Sunday afternoon, but has Mercedes' frank assessment of conditions to reassure him.
"That wasn't safe coming back onto the track!"
It isn't long before Rosberg is in the thick of the fight though - and he's not too impressed with Daniil Kvyat's tactics as they battle over second place early on, the Russian running wide at the final corner before rapidly rejoining the circuit.
"We are faster than him, so I will try and get him!"
Kvyat already has one Mercedes scalp, having passed - and then been repassed - by Hamilton in the fight for the lead on lap 7. And he isn't planning to ease off as the field awaits the end of Virtual Safety Car conditions...
"How the **** did Nico pass me!?"
Kvyat and Ricciardo's plans are seemingly undone by Rosberg on lap 8 however, as the German pounces - much to Ricciardo's astonishment.
"That guy keeps pushing me off every time when I'm next to him. So if that's legal, then I will do the same next time."
There are fights throughout the order as the race develops, including a fantastic scrap between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen - although the latter doesn't have much good to say about the teenager's tactics.
"We're ready with tyres and a new nose."
Raikkonen's race is ultimately undone though when he slips off and nudges into the barriers on lap 21.
"Massa has retired. We are now P13." (McLaren to Alonso)
"Is that a penalty for the start? I'm not sad for that..." (Alonso in response)
Former team mates Alonso and Massa have a clash of their own at the start - and the Spaniard isn't in forgiving mood when told that Massa has been forced to retire.
"How much of a disadvantage am I in, with the tyres?" (Hamilton)
"We need to find another ten seconds to Vettel. We're not sure we're going to be able to do it..." (Mercedes)
Lap 41, and Hamilton - on old tyres and with Rosberg rapidly close - appears to be slipping out of contention.
"I crashed. Sorry guys. My mistake..."
Kvyat has a heavy meeting with the barriers on lap 43 - and it ends up turning the race on its head, with Hamilton afforded a 'free' pit stop. The Briton takes full advantage...
"Three times world champion Lewis, you've only gone and done it!" (Mercedes)
"Yer I'm feeling it pal, I'm feeling it. (Crying from cockpit)
"This is the greatest moment of my life. Thank you guys so much, I'm so grateful. To my family I love you all. Thank you."
Hamilton struggles to get the words out as the reality of having won the race - and his Ayrton Senna-emulating third world title - begins to sink in after he takes the chequered flag.