Williams Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa said his run to eighth place in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix felt “like a victory” as the Brazilian bounced back from a difficult start to the weekend to take home four points.

Massa qualified 16th at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, but was able to make up ground at the start to sit eighth prior to the first round of pit stops.

Benefitting from misfortune for the likes of Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, Massa was able to hold position despite the field being bunched behind the Safety Car mid-race, crossing the line P8.

Given the miserable Friday that Massa endured, failing to complete a single flying lap after a crash early in the day, the result was a significant one.

“I’m very happy with the race today, it was like a victory,” Massa said.

“Great start, great overtakes, good pace for the car we struggled with yesterday, so I’m really happy and also to be able to keep the cars behind at the end.

“I think today was a very intense race, but I’m so happy. I know eighth place is not a nice position, looking at everything I have achieved in my career, but today the way I drove the car and the way I drove in this race, it was definitely like a victory and I’m so happy.

“For sure there’s a lot to understand and improve in the car, like what wasn’t working in the last two races, but I’m happy with the perfect race I had today.”

Teammate Lance Stroll also made up ground through the race, battling from 15th on the grid to 11th at the chequered flag, narrowly missing out on a point.

“Certainly this was better than yesterday, but we just missed out on the points, which was unfortunate,” Stroll said.

“We got lucky with other cars dropping out, but today was definitely a lot better. It was unfortunate that I had damage at the end when overtaking [Kevin] Magnussen at the safety car restart. I broke a piece of the front wing and just had to survive until the end.

“Without this I could have been attacking [Carlos] Sainz for points, but it was a good race with plenty of stuff happening and I had fun.

“It was great to see the car was working better in the race than in qualifying.”

 

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