Comeback of the Year & Disappointment of the Year 23 December, 2012 Comeback of the Year: Felipe Massa Dec.23 (Grand Prix 247) Our choice for the best comeback of the year will no doubt raise eyebrows as the natural candidate is Kimi Raikkonen, but we opted for Felipe Massa because the Brazilian was all but written off by mid-season this year. Indeed, various members of the media in Italy were virtually demanding that he be axed. Credit to Ferrari as they showed extreme and unwavering loyalty in the Brazilian who nearly died in one of their cars back in 2009 and has since never really been the same driver who so very nearly won the title in 2008. Nevertheless in the final half of 2012 he delivered faultless performances to re-establish himself within the team and returned to the podium twice after an absence of nearly two years. A contract extension with the Maranello squad was his reward and the smiles were more frequent. Great comeback Felipe! Massa reflected, “In the first half of the year, I was worried about renewing my contract,” he said. I did not think that Ferrari would really wait right to the end of the summer before deciding on the driver line-up for next year. It’s true that ever since I’ve been at Maranello, there have always been rumours about me: already in my first year there was a list of drivers who were supposed to take my place and it was the same this year, with a lot of names and plenty of speculation.” “At the start, I paid too much attention to these things, but then, in August, I told myself I should only think about racing and having fun and so I began to really drive, to have the right feeling with the car and to drive as quickly as I know how. Now I feel very strong and the results were there to see in the last nine races: so I am optimistic for the future – mine and Ferrari’s,” concluded the Brazilian. Disappointment of the Year: Bruno Senna Bruno Senna was axed from Williams at the end of the 2012 season, a year earlier he had been axed from Lotus indicating that the Brazilian simply did not have the right stuff or did not do enough to impress two teams steeped in Formula One experience and tradition. Sadly his season alongside Pastor Maldonado was lack lustre, admittedly not helped by the fact that the team’s reserve Valtteri Bottas took over his cockpit on many FP1 sessions, and ironically the year started with a spin for the Brazilian on the opening lap in Melbourne and ended with a spin on the opening lap at Interlagos. A return with a top team is probably the only step left for Senna to take in F1, but for now it is unlikely that anyone will come calling. “Since the beginning of my program with Williams I accepted that I had to share the car with Valtteri Bottas in 15 Fridays as a part of his preparation for a likely début in 2013”, Senna explained. “I had some notable achievements this year, such as the fastest lap in the Belgian GP, my favourite track, scoring points on a regular basis and making up many many places through the races.” “Regularly racing in the top ten has certainly been a step forward in my still relatively short career and has allowed me to further sharpen up my race craft. Working with a competitive and supportive engineering team like Williams has left me well prepared for the next step in my career”, Senna concluded. Subbed by AJN. Tweet Joe Kinnear Massa is comeback of the year? Gimme a break. Butterfly @Joe Kinnear: Well said. durptron5000 Bruno Senna had his best year this year…people always forget after Ayrton’s death he was not allowed to race. He has almost a decade less experience than his competitors. If anyone disappointed it was Schumi, Grosjean, Di Resta. C’mon Yalla…. Matster We’ll pick Massa because he did nothing for most of the season and then scores 2 podiums and showed pace in very few races despite racing in for the past few years. We won’t give it to Kimi who scored many podiums including a win as well as third place in the championchip, beating 3 drivers who were competing for the championchip the last 2 years whilst he was rallying? How can you not give it to Kimi? At least he’ll be consistent. Everyone thought Massa was back in ’10 and look where he ended up….. walshy u guys really should give a guy credit(kimi) instead of being so brazil and ferrari biaised kimi was the outstanding driver of the year and with a little more straight line speed would have been very close to alonso and vettel pitwall I think a few people will be surprised with Massa next season. I would have voted for Kimi as well but I don’t think a vote for Felipe is too far off the mark. Just shows how much mental strength it takes to go quickly all the time… just ask Lewis… and he had a broken heart not a fractured skull.