Massa set for emotional farewell, Vettel apology accepted

After 14 years in Formula One, 35-year-old Massa is retiring at the end of the season and is relishing a "special" farewell to his home fans.


Formula One drivers during the pre-race conference ahead of the Brazilian GP.

Felipe Massa spoke ahead of what is primed to be an emotional Brazilian Grand Prix for the home favourite, while Sebastian Vettel appeared alongside the man he told to "f*** off" in Mexico.

After 14 years in Formula One, 35-year-old Massa is retiring at the end of the season and is relishing a "special" farewell to his home fans.

Among his 11 race wins, Massa twice topped the podium in Brazil, where he once watched his legendary compatriot compete.

"This is where I grew up," said the Williams driver. "I remember being in the stands watching [Ayrton] Senna and [Nelson] Piquet and I dreamed of racing and winning here.

"My last race here will be special. I'll miss this place and I'll miss F1. I've made a lot of friends in the last 15 years"

Massa's competitors paid tribute to him, with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton saying: "It's been great driving alongside Felipe and against him.

"F1 is going to miss him, that's for sure."

Ferrari's Vettel, who was in the company of  Charlie Whiting less than two weeks on from the German's radio outburst at the race director, added: "It will be great to see lots of Brazilian flags as Felipe has had a great career. This is his weekend."

Four-time world champion Vettel had more controversial matters to address, though, and stood by his assessment of the incident that led to his foul-mouthed rant in Mexico City, where he was stripped of third spot.

"I don't agree with the decision," he said. "I moved over once to defend and then I gave Daniel Ricciardo enough room. It looks worse than it was."

Vettel escaped any further punishment for his colourful language and Whiting was happy for that to be the end of it. "Sebastian apologised to me after the race for the bad language and that's enough," he said. "Things happen in the heat of the moment.

"It's easy to suggest that decisions are made inconsistently. But no two incidents are the same so explanation is needed."

Amid all of that, the title is up for grabs on Sunday, with Nico Rosberg on the brink of ripping it from the clutches of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.

Victory this weekend will deliver the championship to Rosberg, who said: "I'm feeling great. It's awesome to be fighting for the world title and I'll be going all out for the win."

His British rival added: "I've had some mixed days here and I want to win here for the first time. The position I'm in, I have nothing to lose."

Hamilton was fiercely criticised for using his phone to take pictures during a media conference ahead of the Japan Grand Prix, but was at it again on Thursday, handing his phone to Red Bull's Ricciardo to grab a snap before Massa's big weekend.

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos