Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa ended his Formula One career with a top ten finish in the 2017 Formula One season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday.
The Brazilian started his 269th Grand Prix from 10th place and that is where he finished the event.
Massa has had an extremely successful Formula One career having entered the sport with the Sauber F1 Team in 2002 where he drove alongside Nick Heidfield. The Brazilian joined Ferrari as a test driver for the 2003 season before rejoining the Sauber F1 Team from 2004 to 2005 season.
In 2006, Massa got his big break when he joined Michael Schumacher at Ferrari replacing fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. Massa secured his maiden F1 win at the Turkish Grand Prix and followed this up with a win at his home race in Interlagos, becoming the first Brazilian to win his home race since Ayrton Senna won for McLaren in 1993.
In 2007, Massa was joined at Ferrari by Kimi Raikkonen following Michael Schumacher’s retirement from Formula One.
In 2008, Massa came into his own and nearly won the championship but was pipped at the post by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
The 2009 season proved to be a tough season for the Brazilian following a huge accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix which nearly killed the Brazilian. Massa returned to Formula One in 2010 with Ferrari being joined at the Prancing Horse by Fernando Alonso.
Massa stayed with Ferrari until the end of the 2013 season when he was replaced at Ferrari by Kimi Raikkonen who returned to the team from the Lotus F1 Team.
Massa joined Williams Martini Racing in 2014 alongside Valtteri Bottas where he scored three podium finishes in Italy and Brazil where he finished third. Massa also finished on the podium in second place at the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix alongside Valtteri Bottas who finished in third place. The Brazilian also secured a pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix where the Williams Martini Racing Team locked out the front row.
In 2015, Massa scored another two podium finishes where he came home in third place in Austria and another third place in Monza.
The 2016 season was a tough one for the Brazilian as he finished the season in 11th place in the championship on 53 points. This season proved to be another tough season for the Brazilian with his best result being a pair of sixth place finishes at the Australian and Bahrain Grand Prix.
Speaking following Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Massa commented by saying:
It’s a great feeling. I can say I am really proud of everything I’ve achieved, all 16 years and all the amazing races, and the great people I met in the paddock, racing against the best drivers in the world. To be honest, I’m very lucky to have had all of this in my life so thanks to my family and to god for all of these amazing opportunities. The race was good, I was fighting from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately, we lost the position after the pitstop but I’m really happy overall.
Williams finished the season in fifth place in the Constructors championship on 73 points and speaking following the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe commented by saying:
We were determined to finish the season on a high. There was a lot of emotion in the camp around Felipe’s last drive for the team after such a great career in Formula One. It was a tough race with some very competitive racing. We had a close fight with Fernando (Alonso) in the opening lap and then later on in the race around the pitstops. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace today to stay ahead. We ran out of energy on the outlap, which is why Fernando was able to get past as they came out of the pits, but we scored a point and points is what it’s all about. I’m happy for Felipe and for the team to finish that way. It was a much tougher afternoon for Lance. He didn’t have the pace today. He had a good start and got up to 13th with some good opening laps but finally lost position to Grosjean after a very close fight. He then had a big lock up, so we boxed early for the first tyre change. From there the race really went backwards due to additional pitstops and two more lock-ups whilst fighting for position, so not a weekend to remember. Finally, well done to the team on securing fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.