Among the highlights of the campaign were a 'pole position' in Monaco, a podium in Valencia and the tributes paid as he announced his second retirement.
But during the year he also made the headlines for different reasons, including some high-profile mistakes.
"The main thing I feel unhappy about is that everyone has to drive well below a driver's, and in particular, the car's limits to maintain the tyres. I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer - so that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car."
Expressing his frustration with the 2012 Pirelli tyres after a difficult Bahrain Grand Prix
"We drive like on raw eggs and I don't want to stress the tyres at all. Otherwise you just overdo it and you go nowhere."
Reiterating his dislike of the rubber a few weeks later in an interview with CNN
"I don't have any hard feelings. I feel a bit sorry for one of my boys that I guess he feels responsible, but it's part of the game."
Accepting that mistakes happen after a pitstop blunder costs him a podium in China
"I just took a minute to watch the video and if you look at the overhead shot you can see that he moves right to defend his position, but in the braking phase he moves back in front of me. Then I tried to avoid to the inside again, but too late. Then it's done because that's in the braking phase. Very frustrating. Very much annoyed about that."
Hitting out at Bruno Senna after rear-ending the Williams driver in Spain
"I am more than thrilled and excited about making a pole here in Monaco. Monaco to all of us is the track of the year, which has a very prestigious position. To manage pole position here after what I have gone through in the past two-and-a-half years is just fabulous."
Celebrating his first comeback 'pole position' in Monaco despite the knowledge he had a grid penalty
"It is those moments that definitely you enjoy deeply and it's just a wonderful feeling to be back after such a long time."
Enjoying the first - and only – podium finish of his F1 comeback in Valencia
"I braked a little bit earlier than I would normally do for that corner. The car would decelerate and I need to investigate why that was the case. I just went straight on the brakes very hard, locked up everything and tried to brake as hard as possible. But the accident wasn't avoidable anymore."
Explaining his crash with Jean-Eric Vergne in Singapore. He would later accept it was a driver error
"I have been thinking for quite a while [about this]. We had a three-year agreement, it's hard to keep motivation and energy – it's natural you think about this more than when you are young. I have had my doubts for quite a while whether I had the energy to [continue]. I said in 2006 I was empty and now I am in the red zone. I don't know if there is time to recharge them but I am looking forward to my freedom."
Announcing his retirement at Suzuka
"Formula 1 offers the maximum as far as emotions, speed and work completeness are concerned. Another type of car wouldn't give me the same feelings. I'm stopping here completely."
Underlining that he has no plans to race in another category outside F1
"It's obviously a nice ending if you see the story I'm finishing off here. In a way, it does remind me of 2003 when I had a similar struggle and just managed by a point to win the championship. I'm proud of him. He's a good friend of mine."
Hailing Sebastian Vettel's title win after following his compatriot home in the Brazilian Grand Prix
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