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Massa geared up to bid farewell – for good this time – to Brazilian GP

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Felipe Massa is relishing the opportunity to bid farewell to his home fans at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend after confirming his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season.

Massa had originally been set to retire from F1 following last November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and paid an emotional farewell to Interlagos after crashing out of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Massa was handed a surprise return for 2017 with Williams following Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes, partnering Lance Stroll, but confirmed last week he would be retiring for good this time at the conclusion of this season.

“It’s actually my second retirement race in Brazil, but this time is the last one for sure in Formula 1,” Massa said, stressing there would be no surprise return in 2018.

“[I’m] really looking forward to another amazing feeling to race at home and really enjoy the track that I grew up on for my last time in a Formula 1 car.

“So definitely looking forward and really hope we can have a nice race and a nice result to finish well.”

Massa has endured a difficult bonus year in F1, with Williams being swallowed up in the midfield fight to leave the Brazilian struggling on the fringes of the points.

Asked about the highlights of his final year in F1, Massa said: “Not amazing highlights to be honest. I think the way we started the season, it was not the same way we finished the season. Definitely the car was more competitive at the beginning than the end.

“I think I definitely enjoyed driving the car with all the rules that have been changed from last year to this year. I think it’s a lot of fun this car to drive, a lot more downforce. I definitely enjoyed it a lot.

“Unfortunately I was a little bit unlucky in some races otherwise I could have scored massive points. I expected maybe a season that would have been little bit more competitive than we were.

“But I definitely enjoyed having fun by driving the car. I’m happy that I’ve been able to take the best out of this car when I didn’t have any problems.

“I think it was a season that I definitely enjoyed. I think it will be nice to remember this season.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”