A number of Formula 1 drivers have paid tribute to Felipe Massa after the Brazilian announced on Thursday he would be retiring at the end of the season.
Massa confirmed he would be leaving F1 following the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, calling time on a 14-year career.
As one of F1’s most seasoned drivers, Massa has been a key figure in the sport’s recent history.
Speaking not long after Massa’s announcement, a number of drivers shared their thoughts on the popular Brazilian.
“Obviously it’s a big shame, but this is his choice in the end,” Massa’s former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen said.
“We had a good relationship when we were in the same team and obviously he has had some difficult moments in F1, with the accident, but he’s been strong always and he’s a very nice guy.
“So, life goes on, and I’m sure he made the right choice for himself, so hopefully he has a good end to his F1 career.”
“He’s a really nice guy, really funny. It’s a shame to see that he quits because he will be missed,” four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel added.
“Obviously I wish him all the best for whatever he decides to do in the future. I think apart from the talent and speed he has on the track, as I said, he’s a great guy and very easy-going and he will be missed.”
Jenson Button has raced against Massa throughout his entire F1 career, having debuted back in 2000.
“I’ve raced with Felipe since he started in Formula One, I think it’s about 15 years we’ve been racing together,” Button said.
“It’s always a strange feeling when someone retires from the sport that’s achieved so much, so many victories, and being so close as well to a world championship.
“But we all have our own reasons. I think it’s a brave decision but he’s chosen to retire so it’s definitely the right one.”
“He’s had a long career. I don’t think I’ve seen Formula One when he wasn’t racing,” Kevin Magnussen said.
“He’s had a good one. As Kimi said, if he feels it’s the right time then good luck to him and not much more.”
“Well I think it was quite a wise decision to make, which is probably not an easy one to make for everyone’s career,” Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez said.
“I have great memories for when he accepted my call and invited me for dinner back in 2008, when I was racing Formula BMW. At that time, that meant a lot for me.
“Now, I wish him the best. He has made an incredible career and he has to be proud of that.”
Lewis Hamilton battled with Massa for the F1 drivers’ championship in 2008, and reflected on their rivalry when talking to NBCSN.
“What a career he’s had,” Hamilton said. “I’ve had some incredible battles with him, some good, some bad. I’ve had some really great times with him, before Formula 1 and also through Formula 1.
“Hearing that he’s retiring, I was obviously surprised when I heard about it this morning, but also kind of a realisation of our ages. As he leaves, there’s maybe four or five including him that are ahead of me in age, and that’s one less!
“Bit by bit they’re going to retire over time and eventually I’ll be the oldest one and it will be my turn.
“But I wish him all the best. Super grateful I got to race with a great driver like him.”