Felipe Massa says it was “nice to see his name more on top” on Friday during practice for his final home Brazilian Grand Prix.
Massa, who will retire at the end of season after 16 years in Formula 1, was eighth in first practice this morning, before moving to P4 in the afternoon, just 0.028secs slower than Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas in third.
Asked if it was too early to be thinking about a podium, Massa replied: “Definitely it is too early. We know that the pace needs to be good on Saturday and the pace needs to be good on Sunday. So yeah, it is early but it is nice to be competitive like that. It is nice to see your name more on the top, but we have the same car as the last race. So it will not be a very easy weekend.
“But I will try everything I can to have a special weekend - and it is already quite special”.
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Indeed Massa's Williams has a special livery this weekend, with the Martini logo on the engine cover replaced with his name, while the rear wing has the Portuguese word for thank-you on it, 'Obrigado'.
“For the first time my sponsor and my team changed the name and put my name on top of that. It is so great for me and very special. It is a nice thing for the driver, for me. I am so proud and happy that my team, my sponsor did that for me,” he continued.
“I really hope we have a very good day on Saturday and Sunday and that it gets even more special for me.”
Massa did concede, however, that he is a bit sad it will be his last Brazilian GP, not that he is having second thoughts about retirement.
“[I'm] a little bit [sad], yes. But I am happy with my decision. I think it is the right time. It is a good time and things are going definitely in the right direction.”
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Pressed on how important qualifying will be, Massa added that he will need a “good everything” if he is to get the maximum out of the weekend.
“I am always optimistic when I am here in this place. Definitely we will be even more optimistic tomorrow and the day after and I will be trying everything I can. That is what I am going to do and if we can be competitive here it will be a great feeling. We need to have a great everything though to be on the top. Everything needs to be just perfect. The strategy, the qualifying and the race, which we know is not easy, but that is what we are going to try,” he concluded.
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