Felipe Massa is preparing to race for Ferrari for the 139th and final time this weekend at his home race in Brazil (live on NBC from 11am), and he has spoken about his best and worst memories with the team today in Sao Paulo.
“I would say the happiest moment was, I think, the first time I won in Brazil, 2006, with the green and yellow overalls,” Massa explained. “I think that was definitely the best moment for me. You know how important it is for a Brazilian to win at home. If you remember well, Senna was more happy to win in Brazil than to win a championship so you can see how important it is for a Brazilian to win here.”
Massa joined Ferrari in 2006 as a teammate for Michael Schumacher, but he proved his worth by claiming two wins during his debut season with the Scuderia including his home race in Brazil. It was a peerless performance at the front of the pack that year, but he claimed a second win on home soil in 2008 as he lost out to Lewis Hamilton by a single point in the championship decider.
“It was a very special moment, not just that time but even 2008 was a special moment. I won the race here, it was Sao Paulo, quickest lap.”
However, Massa picked two rather obvious low moments during his time with Ferrari.
“I think the toughest moment was… definitely the accident was not a great moment and maybe the race in Hockenheim, 2010.”
Massa was hospitalized following a horrific accident during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, but he remarkably recovered to get back in the car in time for the beginning of the 2010 season. However, when he looked set to win the German Grand Prix exactly one year on from the accident, he was asked to move aside for Fernando Alonso as Ferrari controversially used team orders.
As he prepares for a new life with Williams in 2014, Massa will hope to give his faithful following in Brazil one final memory of him behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.