It was a very emotional day for Williams’s driver Felipe Massa as he took part in the final home race of his Formula One career. In horrendous conditions that saw the race red flagged twice due to the amount of water on track, Felipe crashed out on lap 47 of 71, prompting emotional scenes as he was cheered by fans and greeted by teams as he walked back down the pitlane.
Draped in the Brazilian flag, a very emotional Felipe waved to his home fans for the last time and was then given a standing ovation from all the teams up and down with personnel lining the garages and applauding him as he walked past.
The emotion overwhelmed him and when his wife and son came out of the Williams garage where they had been watching the race unfold to embrace him, the tears unashamedly fell down his cheeks.
“It’s impossible to explain my feelings from today, for everything that has happened. So much love,” he said afterwards. “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.”
“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,” added Head of Engineering, Rob Smedley, who has been by Felipe’s side through his Ferrari days and then went with him to Williams. “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.”
Felipe will sign off on his 15 year Formula One career at the season finale in Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time.