Massa retires in final home race

Williams Valtteri Bottas finished 11th and Felipe Massa retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix. The start was delayed due to heavy rain and a series of safety car periods and two red flags, on laps 21 and 28, broke the race into several segments. Both drivers lost track position when the first red flag penalised their early switch to intermediate tyres. Bottas contested the points placings for much of the race, and made up two places on the final lap.

Massa was making good progress in the treacherous conditions until he crashed out of his last home grand prix on lap 47, prompting emotional scenes as he was cheered by fans and greeted by teams as he walked back down the pitlane.

Bottas remains eighth and Massa 11th in the Drivers’ Championship. Williams stays fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Felipe Massa: “It’s impossible to explain my feelings from today, for everything that has happened. So much love. We couldn’t finish the race. I wanted to finish in the right way, with the flag on the top. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, but I think God knows what to do.

“I was just walking, in front of my people, with this amazing reaction. Not just from the fans but from all the people in Formula One coming out to clap their hands for me. It’s impossible to explain these emotions. I never expected this in my life, I don’t think I deserved as much as this.

“The minimum I can say is thank you very much to everyone, all the people I’ve worked with, all of the fans. I will never forget this day.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a very difficult day in very difficult conditions. We managed to keep the car in one piece but it wasn’t easy. We had quite a lot of potential with the strategy, but in the end the intermediate tyres starting working a bit too late for us.

“It’s a shame that Force India got a lot more points than us, so it’s going to be tricky in Abu Dhabi. We were just really unlucky today with the timing of our strategy. It’s been amazing to see the support here for Felipe and I’m sure he really appreciated it. We’ll enjoy Abu Dhabi.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We knew we needed to do something different to get in the points. We hoped the rain would ease off enough to cause the extreme wet tyre to wear, so that our early decision to switch to the intermediates would give us the advantage. Unfortunately, with all the safety cars and red flag periods, it allowed everyone to keep changing their wet tyres for fresh ones, so we never saw the benefit.

“We did our best in difficult conditions but the safety cars and stoppages didn’t help us. It was a shame that Felipe had to end his race the way he did, as it would have been great for him to get a good result. You could see that he was absolutely filled with emotion, as he has been all weekend, and this final home race for him, in front of his fans and surrounded by friends and family must be something very special for him. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

“Credit must also go to Max Verstappen, who was in a class of his own today and was incredible to watch. He may have even won the race had it gone on a few laps longer. Thank you as well to all the fans who stayed to watch despite all the delays.”

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