Felipe Massa says seventh place in final Brazilian GP was 'like a victory'
Massa holds off old rival Alonso for seventh in final home race
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 12/11/17 7:37pm
Felipe Massa says finishing seventh in his final Brazilian GP "felt like a victory" as the Williams veteran prepares to retire at the end of the season.
The Brazilian enjoyed a race-long battle with former Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso but was able to hold off the Spaniard to finish less than half a second ahead.
As he celebrated on his cool-down lap, Massa received a tear-jerking message as his son Felipe Jr. said: "Daddy, I'm so proud of you. Wherever you go I will support you. I love you. By the way, I loved your start."
And Massa, who also went on the podium to take in the adulation of his home fans, felt he had delivered the perfect send off.
"It was a race that I will never forget," Massa told Sky F1.
"I was so emotional when I finished the race. It was a very difficult race for me. It was like many victories that I took.
"I drove a perfect race from beginning to end, managed the tyres, managed everything around the car, the pace I had.
"Today was definitely like a victory and to finish the race and feel the emotion of the people after such an amazing race."
A year ago Massa had received an emotional send off after announcing his initial retirement. After crashing late on in pouring rain, he walked down the pitlane in tears, draped in the Brazilian flag.
Having returned to Williams at the start of the year to replace the Mercedes-bound Valtteri Bottas, this time he signed off at Interlagos with the performance he wanted and joked it was why he had agreed to come back.
"I knew last year I had so much love and emotion from the people but I didn't finish the race like I wanted," he said.
"Today I finished like I wanted. That's why I did another year."
Massa's final F1 Grand Prix will be at the 2017 finale in Abu Dhabi on November 26.
Williams are yet to decide on his replacement, with Robert Kubica, Paul Di Resta, Daniil Kvyat and Pascal Wehrlein all believed to be in contention.
Don't miss the F1 Report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1 as Williams co-founder Sir Patrick Head joins Marc Priestley and Natalie Pinkham to review the Brazilian GP.
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