Felipe Massa overcame two mishaps to claim a podium finish in Brazilian GP
Local hero grateful for speed of Williams FW36 after pit-stop errors leave him with ground to make up
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 09/11/14 9:06pm
Felipe Massa got a bigger cheer on the Interlagos podium than race winner Nico Rosberg and runner-up Lewis Hamilton managed, although it was touch and go during Sunday’s race whether the local hero would actually make it.
Despite running third behind the Mercedes pair early on, things started to go awry for Massa when he picked up a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane during his first stop.
The Williams driver soon had the crowd back on its feet with a rousing drive back through the field and reclaimed third place ahead of Jenson Button. In fact, Massa's recovery was such that he was able to hold on to the place after a second mishap – the 33-year-old this time mistakenly stopping in McLaren’s pit during his final stop.
It could all have amounted to another frustrating Brazilian GP for Massa – who famously won, then lost, the world title at his home race in 2008 – but he said the pace of the team’s FW36 had spared his blushes.
“I think the race was amazing,” he said. “Everything happens in my race today but I think the most important thing was that the pace was there, the car was quick. I was so happy with the car the whole weekend.
“I’m not happy with my mistakes today – I just got a problem when I braked for the pit stop: I pressed the pit limiter but for whatever reason, the pit limiter was not inside [60km/h]. And then I was a faster speed, so I press and brake again, it was a problem I had today.
“I managed to overtake many cars, catch Button as well in front, and then I stop. I opened the gap compared to Jenson to maybe about five or six seconds – maybe more – and then I stop…in the wrong garage.
“I stopped in McLaren because they changed our garage for this race – we’re a lot more in the middle and McLaren with the similar colours, I thought it was our garage. I lost a lot of time because of that.”
Massa admitted: “I thought I could lose the podium with the first mistake – with the five-seconds for speeding over the pit limiter – I thought I could lose the podium there. I was so disappointed.”
Yet a happy ending was in store for both Massa and his fans. “These people, we can still hear the singing and screaming,” he added. “It’s amazing the energy they’ve had this weekend. It’s difficult to explain how emotional it is.”