Felipe Massa hails 'perfect race' on his Brazilian GP swansong
Williams’ Felipe Massa hailed a “perfect race” as he fended off Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez to record seventh place upon his final Brazilian Grand Prix outing.
Massa, who will bow out of the sport at next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, started from ninth on the grid but surged up to sixth on the opening lap, before picking off Alonso at the restart.
Both he and Alonso were overhauled by the recovering Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, but the Brazilian was able to hold on to seventh, despite struggling with his tyres during the closing stages.
Massa came across the line less than half a second clear of Alonso, who in turn finished just 0.137s ahead of Pérez, the Force India driver having pitted later than his rivals.
“It’s such an amazing result and such an amazing feeling to pass through all of this in my career,” said Massa, who was afforded an interview on the podium after the official ceremony took place.
“The race was perfect, from beginning to end. An amazing start, overtaking a few cars, then an amazing restart after the safety car, passing Alonso.
“I knew it would be very important to pass him for my race and result. After that, a perfect race. I managed to keep him behind, even without tyres at the end.
“I’m so happy and emotional about my race. I finish with my head held high, that’s the most important thing, in this place which is amazing for me. The only thing I can say is obrigado, I will miss all of you guys.”
Massa’s result, his best since the Bahrain Grand Prix, enabled him to jump ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll in the standings.
Stroll finished as the final classified runner in 16th place, having suffered a tyre delamination during the closing stages.