Massa: Q2 elimination in final Brazilian GP appearance ‘hurts a lot’

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Felipe Massa says qualifying a lowly 13th for the final Brazilian Grand Prix of his Formula 1 career “hurts” as he prepares to bid farewell to his home fans.

Massa announced in September that he would be retiring from F1 at the end of the 2016 season, calling time on a 14-year career that saw him win the Brazilian Grand Prix on two occasions.

The Williams driver entered the weekend braced for an emotional farewell, but hoped to focus this energy into a good result on-track.

However, Massa struggled for pace during the second stage of qualifying, finishing just 13th in Q2 to ensure that he did not progress to the top-10 shootout and mark his worst qualifying result in Brazil.

“It hurts a lot,” Massa told NBCSN after the session.

“I was really happy and confident in the balance after first lap, was all working the right way. Then, it understeered for the second lap. I couldn’t have the same balance in the front. I was even complaining about the front tires.

“Anyway, it’s a shame not to be in Q3 for these people, who I really love, and they love me as well. They were screaming so much.

“But I’m really looking forward to a better race tomorrow for them. Rain is welcome to help! We expected to be fighting with Force India today. Something happened it didn’t work out.

“It was already emotional today. Tomorrow’s going to be a day I’ll never forget in my life.”

The Brazilian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 10am ET on Sunday.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.