Felipe Massa retired at the end of the 2016 Formula 1 season…before immediately returning to replace Mercedes bound former teammate Valtteri Bottas. He sat down with Mobil 1 The Grid, for an exclusive interview on a remarkable career.
Massa has started over 250 Grand Prix, raced with 3 teams and taken 11 victories, 41 podiums and 16 pole positions. He is one of Formula 1’s seasoned veterans and one of the most likeable drivers on the grid. Ever smiling and always humble, many were happy that he put off his retirement for at least one more season to continue a career that has spanned 15 years.
“I think when you are doing something you always dreamed to do…its fantastic, and yeah. It’s difficult to explain to be honest!”
His career started at the Sauber team back in 2002 and raced with them for 2004 and ’05 as well. 2003 saw him take a test seat at Ferrari and he gained valuable experience for the championship winning team. 2006 saw the Sauber team taken over by BMW and that year, Massa began his racing career with Ferrari as teammate to Michael Schumacher. His first victory came that year in the Turkish Grand Prix, but the best was yet to come. The final race of the year in Brazil saw Massa take an emotional home win, and he became a true Brazilian sporting hero. Another victory there in 2008 was bittersweet, losing the title to McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton by just a single point. To date, it remains Massa’s last win in F1.
“It felt like I didn’t stop to be honest! So here we are, going for another season with Williams. I’m proud to be part of this team”
2009 saw him survive a horrible accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and he was forced to miss most of the season. He returned in 2010 and partnered Fernando Alonso, and stayed with the team until the end of 2013. He moved to Williams in 2014, partnering Valtteri Bottas and the pair helped the team to P3 in the constructors two years in a row. 2017 saw him replaced by Lance Stroll, until Bottas made the move to replace world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. This is now his 15th Formula One season and may even continue his career beyond this year, despite many thinking 2017 would definitely be his swansong. His career has been long, varied, and emotional. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon…