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.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

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.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

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.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).