A "really emotional" Felipe Massa paid tribute to the fans for all the support he received as he finished best of the rest in his final home grand prix.
To the delight of the crowd, Massa held off Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez for P7 at Interlagos. A stark contrast to retiring in wet conditions 12 months ago in what turned out to be a dress rehearsal for his actual retirement.
"I'm really emotional today because of all of you guys," Massa said in a special interview with fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello on the podium.
"Thank you for everything that we passed together, for all the support.
"The energy that I felt today here, to make the best race I could. I'm so happy for my race, did the best the car could achieve.
"Thank you very much all you guys. I love you. Thank you so much."
Massa also received a wonderful message from his son, Felipinho, after he crossed the finish line.
"Daddy, I'm so proud of you. I will support you wherever you go. By the way, I loved your start!"
Back in the paddock, Massa described his P7 finish as “like a victory”.
“It’s so difficult to explain my feelings today,” he added.
“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.
“For sure I will miss all of you guys. We’ve been together for 16 years. Thank you.”