Massa says goodbye to Interlagos with 'perfect race'

After waving goodbye once more to his home fans in Brazil, Felipe Massa hailed a "perfect race".

Williams' driver Felipe Massa of Brazil acknowledges the crowd after his final home city race at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.   -  AFP

Felipe Massa believes he drove the "perfect race" on his final outing in a Formula One car at his home circuit, finishing seventh at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Massa will retire at the end of the season, having initially done so 12 months ago before being lured back by Williams to fill the void left by Valtteri Bottas.

READ: Vettel clinches Brazilian Grand Prix

Last year's race at Interlagos ended in disappointment for the veteran driver but a top-10 finish this time around ranked Massa as the best of the rest behind the big three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Massa fought hard to hold off McLaren's Fernando Alonso in the closing stages before climbing to the top step on the podium to wave goodbye to his adoring fans.

"It's so difficult to explain my feelings today," he said.

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"I had an amazing start. I then managed to overtake a few cars after the safety car, managed to overtake Alonso which was very important for me because I knew he would have better pace than me.

"I managed to keep him behind. 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 it. 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.

"I knew last year I had so much love and emotion from the people but I didn't finish the race like I wanted. Today I finished like I wanted. That's why I did another year.

"It was a race that I will never forget."

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