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.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.