While it wasn’t the race he was hoping for, Williams driver Felipe Massa waved goodbye to his Brazilian fans early after he crashed out of the Brazilian Grand Prix, earning cheers and tears around the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
Being one of six drivers to suffer retirements, Massa struggled under the extreme conditions in Brazil and hit the wall on lap 48, calling for yet another safety car.
Massa, overwhelmed by the support he received when he made his way back to the Williams garage, found it hard to find the words to express his gratitude, especially when the some of the team garages formed a guard of honour at the Formula 1 paddock.
“It’s difficult to explain the feeling,” said the former Ferrari driver.
“This is such a special place for me, it’s so amazing the feeling from the people here in Brazil, and from the people here in the paddock, everybody that I worked for. It’s really an honour and a pleasure to be a part of this world.
“It was so special seeing all those guys coming out in the middle of the race. I will never forget this day, and all of you guys will be inside my heart definitely for all my life.”
The Formula 1 veteran also had some kind words for his compatriots in the grandstands.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody in the crowd, in the grandstands, from which I’ve had a lot of support during these 15 years,” he said.
“I was a bit sad because I wanted to finish the race for them. Unfortunately I couldn’t but maybe it was better like that.”