Bristol will spend next season in the Championship after suffering a 36-21 defeat to Wasps at Ashton Gate on Sunday.
Jason Woodward's early try was quickly countered by a first half treble from Josh Bassett, Tommy Taylor and Joe Simpson as Wasps went in 21-7 up. Christian Wade, Guy Thompson and Bassett (again) added to the lead, with late tries from Jack O'Connell and Nick Fenton-Wells restoring some pride for the hosts.
One Premiership win since New Year's Day has made 2017 a pretty poor year for Bristol, and the visit of Wasps was a daunting task despite the visitors poor run away from home.
But it was the hosts who started on the front foot with a third minute try. Woodward went over early on, running 50 metres unchallenged after an interception. Gavin Henson converted, but that was as good as it got in the first 40.
On the quarter of an hour, Wasps got the leveller courtesy of Bassett. The work had been done by Kurtley Beale, who carried up to the line, before Phil Swainston's pass allowed Bassett through.
Jimmy Gopperth converted and he did the same again five minutes later as try two arrived. Taylor went in off the back of the maul to crash down, Gopperth adding the extras for a seven point lead.
Bristol were still in the game but right on half-time, Wasps escaped from the 22 and capitalised on the hosts inability to make the most of the ground they'd made.
Beale broke free from two defenders and offloaded into the arms of Simpson who ran over. Gopperth's extras made it 21-7 at the break.
Bristol started the second half in the same way they did the first, but this time Christian Wade stopped a certain try with a last ditch challenge.
And that denial was pivotal, because Wasps increased their lead through Wade. He was the recipient of Willie Le Roux's pass after he had put the visitors into a two on one position.
And try five followed swiftly after as Thompson added to Bristol's woes. Matt Symons made the most of a loose ball, and Thompson did the rest.
Bassett got his second and Wasps' sixth with 15 minutes remaining. Beale drew in two defenders, Alapati Leiua drew in another and that gave all the time for Bassett to pick his spot before going over, Bristol's hopes of a comeback firmly gone.
But they did have something to celebrate thanks to the ingenuity of Tusi Pisi. He had the knowhow to send through a perfect offload, which eventually saw the ball fall for O'Connell, who got Bristol back into the scoring habit after an hour away.
And they went out on a high with a third try with two minutes left on the clock. Ryan Edwards full pitch break had Bristol baring down, and Fenton-Wells got the third try with Searle's conversion finishing it at 21-36.
Tries: Woodward, O'Connell, Fenton-Wells
Cons: Henson, Searle 2
Tries: Bassett 2, Taylor, Simpson, Wade, Thompson
Cons: Gopperth 3
Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Jack Tovey, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells, 6 Sam Jeffries, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 James Phillips, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Marc Jones (c), 1 Ryan Bevington
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Jack O’Connell, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Ben Glynn, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Tusi Pisi, 23 Charlie Amesbury
Wasps: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 James Haskell, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse 17 Tom Bristow 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19, Kearnan Myall, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Dan Robson 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Alapati Leiua
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Roger Baileff
TMO: Stuart Terheege