Massa: “There is always a big expectation to perform in front of your home crowd”

AP
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After Alexander Rossi (United States) and Sergio Perez (Mexico) have been the home darlings the last two Grands Prix in the Americas, its the dual Felipe’s turn this week in Brazil.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr will make his maiden start at Interlagos this week, but the unquestioned crowd favorite will be Williams’ Felipe Massa, who will make his 12th start at the Autodromo Carlos Pace.

The track and Massa will always be linked in one of F1’s truly iconic moments, when he won the 2008 race and came mere seconds from securing the World Championship. Of course Lewis Hamilton’s pass of Timo Glock for fifth put that dream to rest, but Massa’s incredible sportsmanship and heroism in defeat earned him praise that exists to this day.

That race marked his most recent win in the sport and while he’s still a longshot to capture another Grand Prix win, which would be the 12th of his career, he’s still keen to impress on home soil.

“Your home Grand Prix is always the most important race for a driver,” Massa said in Williams’ pre-race advance.

“For me to race at home where I started my career – first on the other side of the wall at the kart track, then onto the race track – there is always a big expectation to perform in front of your home crowd.

“I love the track, it’s one of the best tracks for me and I’ve always had good results there. I’m really looking forward to hopefully achieving another amazing result this year.”

Massa’s podium last year was his fifth at the track. He had an incredible three-year run from 2006 to 2008 in his home race, and also finished third in 2012.

“Last year we managed to finish on the podium. It was a race with so many things happening – I had a five-second penalty and even stopped in the wrong garage – but we still managed to have an amazing race so it’s important to look back on what we did last year to try to repeat it and have a very strong weekend once again,” he said.

“The passion from the fans is amazing. The emotion they have and how close they are to me as a driver, it’s really an amazing feeling to race at home. The experience is difficult to explain.”

Massa said over the weekend if he can’t find a competitive home beyond 2016, when his contract with Williams expires, he’ll end his F1 career.

Massa’s record at Brazil

  • 2002: Sauber-Petronas, Started 12th, Finished 16th, DNF (collision)
  • 2004: Sauber-Petronas, Started 4th, Finished 8th
  • 2005: Sauber-Petronas, Started 8th, Finished 11th
  • 2006: Ferrari, Pole, Won
  • 2007: Ferrari, Pole, Finished 2nd
  • 2008: Ferrari, Pole, Won
  • 2010: Ferrari, Started 9th, Finished 15th
  • 2011: Ferrari, Started 7th, Finished 5th
  • 2012: Ferrari, Started 5th, Finished 3rd
  • 2013: Ferrari, Started 9th, Finished 7th
  • 2014: Williams-Mercedes, Started 3rd, Finished 3rd