An emotional Felipe Massa described finishing seventh in his final Brazilian Grand Prix as “like a victory” after holding off Fernando Alonso at Interlagos.
Massa started from ninth on the grid and was running sixth behind Fernando Alonso under the Safety Car deployed on the opening lap, but fought his way ahead of the McLaren on the race restart. Having held Alonso off until the flag – leading home both Alonso and Sergio Perez by just half a second – Massa was emotional after crossing the line.
“It’s so difficult to explain my feelings today,” Massa said. “Amazing start, then managed to overtake a few cars after the safety car, managed to overtake Alonso. That was very important for me because I knew he would have a better pace than me. So I managed to keep him behind.
“I was so emotional when I finished the race. It was a very difficult race for me. For me the race was like many victories that I took. I drove a perfect race from the beginning to the end, I managed the tires, managed everything around the car with the pace I had. Today it was definitely like a victory.
“It’s so amazing to finish the race and feel the emotions of the people after such an amazing race. I knew that maybe 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 the race like I wanted. That’s why I did another year!”
On the lap back to the pits, Massa’s son Felipinho took to team radio to send his father a message, before the pair then stood together on the podium after the top three ceremony.
“Yeah it was very special to have my son on the radio, but also my family here, all the fans, everybody supporting me. It was a race that I will never forget. For sure I will miss all of you guys, for everything that we’ve had together. Thank you very much for all of you that we’ve been together for 16 years.”