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.