This weekend in Brazil, the competitors in Felipe Massa’s “Desafio Internacional des Estrelas” karting event took a moment to support Formula One legend Michael Schumacher, who remains in critical condition and in a medically induced coma after suffering a severe head injury during a skiing accident late last month.
According to an English press release from XYZ Live, all 24 racers gathered in the middle of the track’s infield to pray for Schumacher’s recovery and then hold up a banner with the words “Força Schumi” – Stay Strong, Schumi in Portuguese. The same Portuguese message was also on stickers that were put on the front nose of all the karts.
As for the race itself, the field was mostly made up of Brazilian competitors including Massa, Schumacher’s old Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, and IndyCar racers Ana Beatriz and Felipe Giaffone (2001-2006).
However, it was an Italian and Swiss 1-2 in the end, as former F1 pilot Vitantonio Liuzzi took the checkered flag by six seconds over current Red Bull tester Sebastien Buemi, who logged the fastest lap of the race.
Massa, preparing to begin a new chapter in his career at Williams this season, nabbed the last spot on the podium at 10.6 seconds behind Liuzzi.
“It was a wonderful weekend,” Liuzzi said according to the release. “The kart was pretty good after a few adjustments we made between FP2 and qualifying. Definitely, we found the best set up. I made a good start and was able to pull away from the battles behind me and that was the key to [the] win.”
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.