Felipe Massa

Massa: We’ve been together for 16 years. Thank you!

Felipe Massa

In scenes worthy of Ground Hog Day, Felipe Massa went through the now familiar emotional roller-coaster of another final farewell to his fans at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Last year a tearful Massa walked the length of the pitlane, after crashing out of the grand prix, draped in a Brazilian flag in what was expected to be his final race on home soil.

We all know what happened since then (returning to fill in for Mercedes bound Valtteri Bottas etc etc) but now it is sure to be Massa’s final grand prix in Brazil as he confirmed his retirement earlier this month.

On the day at Interlagos, he fought hard all afternoon with his nemesis Fernando Alonso – his former teammate at Ferrari – and was rewarded with seventh place for his efforts, finishing ahead of the Spaniard.

Immediately after the race it was ‘lump in throat’ inducing stuff when the 36-year-old’s son Felipinho hailed his father over the team radio, “Daddy I am so proud of you. Wherever you go I will support you. I love you. By the way, I loved your start.”

After the podium ceremony featuring the top three, Massa was brought up in front of the crowd by fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.

Clearly emotional, Massa said to his fans: “I’m really emotional today because of all of you guys [the fans]. Thank you for everything that we passed together, for all the support.”

“The energy that I felt today here, to make the best race I could. I’m so happy for my race, did the best the car could achieve. Thank you very much all you guys. I love you. Thank you so much.”

Later he told reporters, “It’s so difficult to explain my feelings today. I had an amazing start. I then managed to overtake a few cars after the Safety Car, managed to overtake Alonso which was very important for me because I knew he would have better pace than me.”

“I managed to keep him behind. I was so emotional when I finished the race. It was a very difficult race for me. It was like many victories that I took it. I drove a perfect race from beginning to end, managed the tyres, managed everything around the car, the pace I had.”

“To finish the race and feel the emotion of the people after such an amazing race. I knew last year I had so much love and emotion from the people but I didn’t finish the race like I wanted. Today I finished like I wanted. That’s why I did another year.”

“It was a race that I will never forget. For sure I will miss all of you guys. We’ve been together for 16 years. Thank you,” added Massa on the occasion of his penultimate Formula 1 race.

The 36 year old Brazilian made his Formula 1 race debut at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix and has made 267 starts, winning 11 times and celebrating on the podium 41 times.

He was runner-up in the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship, losing the title by one point to Lewis Hamilton that year.