Massa geared up to bid farewell – for good this time – to Brazilian GP

Getty Images
1 Comment

Felipe Massa is relishing the opportunity to bid farewell to his home fans at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend after confirming his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season.

Massa had originally been set to retire from F1 following last November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and paid an emotional farewell to Interlagos after crashing out of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Massa was handed a surprise return for 2017 with Williams following Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes, partnering Lance Stroll, but confirmed last week he would be retiring for good this time at the conclusion of this season.

“It’s actually my second retirement race in Brazil, but this time is the last one for sure in Formula 1,” Massa said, stressing there would be no surprise return in 2018.

“[I’m] really looking forward to another amazing feeling to race at home and really enjoy the track that I grew up on for my last time in a Formula 1 car.

“So definitely looking forward and really hope we can have a nice race and a nice result to finish well.”

Massa has endured a difficult bonus year in F1, with Williams being swallowed up in the midfield fight to leave the Brazilian struggling on the fringes of the points.

Asked about the highlights of his final year in F1, Massa said: “Not amazing highlights to be honest. I think the way we started the season, it was not the same way we finished the season. Definitely the car was more competitive at the beginning than the end.

“I think I definitely enjoyed driving the car with all the rules that have been changed from last year to this year. I think it’s a lot of fun this car to drive, a lot more downforce. I definitely enjoyed it a lot.

“Unfortunately I was a little bit unlucky in some races otherwise I could have scored massive points. I expected maybe a season that would have been little bit more competitive than we were.

“But I definitely enjoyed having fun by driving the car. I’m happy that I’ve been able to take the best out of this car when I didn’t have any problems.

“I think it was a season that I definitely enjoyed. I think it will be nice to remember this season.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
0 Comments

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.