F1 2014 Driver Review: Felipe Massa

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Felipe Massa

Team: Williams Martini Racing
Car No.: 19
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 3
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 134
Laps Led: 30
Championship Position: 7th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

After so many years in the shadows at Ferrari, Felipe Massa hit back with a vengeance in 2014, enjoying heights with Williams that he hadn’t reached since his title bid in 2008. The Brazilian was in a far happier place this year, away from the pressure of Maranello and the ongoing change that marred Ferrari’s season.

His three podium finishes were all thoroughly deserved, running Lewis Hamilton close at the final race in Abu Dhabi with a fine display. If there were doubts about Massa’s ability waning heading into 2014, they will undoubtedly have been cleared after a great season.

Arguably, P7 in the drivers’ championship doesn’t do justice to Massa’s performances this year. Luck was never on his side, as seen in Australia when Kamui Kobayashi took him out and in Canada when Sergio Perez did the same thing. Sometimes, Massa did make mistakes, such as in Germany when he made contact with Kevin Magnussen at the start and rolled his car, but there is no doubt that the Brazilian is back in business.

In 2015, Felipe will be gunning to return to the top step of the podium, and few would begrudge the popular racer a win.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

The 2007 to pre-Hungary 2009 Felipe Massa was back with a vengeance in 2014, and there would be few people in the paddock disappointed with that. Massa has suddenly become one of F1’s elder statesman, and as the leading Brazilian in the championship, the pride of a nation that features so many fervent, passionate fans.

Massa was lucky to come back to F1 after his Hungary injuries – such was the devotion and dedication Ferrari showed him. But from the time he returned it was apparent he wasn’t the same driver who so nearly won the 2008 championship, and once the mind games were installed at Hockenheim 2010 from Fernando Alonso, there was no turning back. Although physically on the grid these last four years, it rarely felt as though Massa was passionately on the grid. Going into most races, you’d think Massa could pick up some minor points at best, and that thought process was a shame.

For all who thought his switch to Williams would be the beginning of the end for him, it was welcome to see that wasn’t the case. Massa was desperately unlucky to only bank 18 points from the first seven races. But he was the only driver other than the factory Mercedes pairing to score a pole, and each of his podiums was a tear-jerker for the right reasons. Third at Monza came in front of his longtime tifosi, third at Sao Paulo came in front of his home fans, and second at Abu Dhabi was very nearly the day where he returned to winning. That day should happen in 2015.