Carlos Sainz was hoping for a better outcome to his swan song ride with Toro Rosso than a retirement on the first lap of the Japanese GP.
The Spaniard, who moves on to Renault for the US Grand Prix in Austin in two weeks, failed to make it past Turn 6 following an ill-inspired attempt to improve his laggard position at the back of the field.
Sainz lost control on the entry of the right-hand sweep and spun miserably into the barriers, ending his afternoon and his almost three-year stint with Toro Rosso on a flat note.
"How disappointing, this wasn’t the way I wanted to end my time with Toro Rosso, that’s for sure,” said Sainz Jr.
"I’d like to say sorry to the whole team for retiring on the first lap.
"I was trying to risk everything at the start to try and gain some positions, so I went around the outside at Turn 6 and I found a lot more dust on the track than I was expecting, and lost it; as simple as that.
"It’s a shame, because I was really looking forward to finishing on a high here in Suzuka with the team."
Sainz praised the team where he served his F1 apprenticeship and matured as a bona fide Grand Prix driver.
"I’m going to remain positive: these three years here have been absolutely amazing – it’s been an ideal preparation for me,” he said.
"The driver I am today, compared to the driver I was in 2015, is a more complete and better one, and this is thanks to Toro Rosso, who are a great group of professionals."
Over the course of his 56-race career with the Faenza-based outfit, Sainz scored 112 championship points, with his best result achieved this year at Singapore where he finished fourth.