Felipe Massa has stated that his seventh place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix – his final home race in Formula 1 – felt ‘like a victory.’
Massa announced last month that he will retire from F1 duties at the end of the season. This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix was, therefore, his last on home soil.
After prevailing in a race-long battle with Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, Massa’s seventh place finish was his best result in the last 14 races.
“I did everything in a perfect way from the beginning to the end, fighting with a guy that I have been fighting a lot in my career,” Massa stated.
“It was such a big pleasure to finish in front of him and to finish the race with my head up – I think that’s the important thing.”
Massa was initially set to retire at the end of the 2016 season, but his retirement was delayed when Williams required his services following the sudden departure of Mercedes-bound Valtteri Bottas in January.
Last season’s Brazilian Grand Prix was also an emotional affair, with fans anticipating it to have been Massa’s last home event.
On that occasion, he retired from the race after a crash in wet conditions and received a guard of honour from rival teams as he walked down the pitlane en route to the garage.
“Last year I had such amazing emotion, walking through the pit lane, but I was missing the result,” Massa reflected. “Today I think I finished with a result like a victory, doing more than maybe what the car was able to do.
“I’m so proud, I have so much emotion for everything that I have passed through in F1 after such a long time. It is a race I will never forget.”