Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo led the thanks to outgoing driver Felipe Massa at the team’s annual Finali Mondiali (World Final) celebrations in Italy.
Massa was greeted by cheering fans at the track as he prepares to start his final two races as a Ferrari driver before joining Williams next year.
“Felipe has been a true Ferrari man and he will always be part of our history, for all the grands prix he drove for us, for the wins, the pole positions and for those few seconds when he was world champion that day in Brazil, before that overtaking move that always seemed a bit strange to me,” said di Montezemolo. Massa narrowly missed out on winning the 2008 world championship when Lewis Hamilton overtook Timo Glock on the final lap as the Toyota driver struggled for grip on a wet track on dry weather tires.
“I wish Felipe every success, starting with the last two races of this championship,” Montezemolo continued.
“As for the rest of his Formula One career, I wish him the very best, but naturally, behind a Ferrari and anyway, I am sure we will get many chances to meet up again, because life is long and he will always be part of our family.”
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Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.